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NH Borrowers Call for Student-Loan Forgiveness

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Wednesday, February 10, 2021   

CONCORD, N.H. -- Americans owe more than $1.5 trillion in student-loan debt, and advocates for borrowers are calling on President Joe Biden and Congress to provide relief.

The average New Hampshire college graduate leaves school owing nearly $40,000 dollars, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

Kelsey Buchanan, an art teacher in Concord, graduated three years ago and was paying more than $1,000 a month, until after three tries, she was able to refinance and bring her interest rate down.

She said student-loan forgiveness would make a huge difference for borrowers like her, as well as for the economy.

"I'd be going and buying something that I haven't otherwise felt I can," Buchanan explained. "Or trying to work on my house, or, I'm a teacher, I would love to put some money back into my classroom and my students. You know, even if it's just buying a bagel from the bagel fundraiser that the kids do."

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., are among those urging Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in debt per borrower. The Biden administration has said it's considering it.

Andrew Pentis, senior writer for Student Loan Hero, which helps borrowers and prospective borrowers manage their debt and avoid taking on unnecessary loans, said the Biden administration also has talked about policies to ease the payment burdens.

Ideas include alterations to the existing public-service loan forgiveness programs, - for example, annual payments rather than relief after 10 years - as well as making it easier for low-income borrowers to access income-driven repayment plans.

"Student-loan forgiveness is definitely reaching a fever pitch, but it is still a ways off from actually happening," Pentis acknowledged.

Buchanan would like to see more kids and high school students taught about money, what their options are for going to college, and how to pay for it.

"I certainly at 17, 18 years old had zero frame of reference of what it was going to be like to pay back any amount of debt," Buchanan admitted. "How much I would be making as an art teacher, how much it would cost to live in a home or an apartment, or to pay utilities."

She also noted college isn't the only option; many folks build great careers in trade fields without college degrees.


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