The White House, Washington, DC
Joe Daniel Awards | time | Getty Images
Tens of millions of Americans are anxiously awaiting news from the Biden administration on what it plans to do about widespread student loan cancellation.
More recently, the White House reportedly leaned towards a $10,000 per borrower cancellation plan (for those earning less than $150,000).
Yet President Joe Biden is under intense pressure to do more.
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Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York, along with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., pushed Him to pardon at least $50,000 for all.
The NAACP also explained that $10,000 would not go far enough for black student borrowers, who have an average balance above $50,000 a few years after graduation.
Wisdom Cole, national director of the association’s youth and college division, recently tweeted that nixing just $10,000 would be “a slap in the face.”
At the same time, the idea of student debt cancellation infuriates many Americans, including those who never borrowed for college or went to college. Some Republicans have said they will try to block an attempt by the president to cancel the debt.
The broad disagreement on the subject is part of why it’s been so difficult for the administration to decide how to proceed, especially with the midterm elections looming.
CNBC asked readers what they would think of the White House forgiveness of $10,000 in student debt. Dozens of people wrote.
Here’s what four of them had to say. (Editor’s Note: Answers have been edited slightly for clarity.)
‘$10,000…would be substantial for me’
Caleb Perkins, 29, student
I will be about $50,000 in debt when I graduate in December with my Masters of Social Work from Ohio University. I am a first generation student who comes from very humble roots. My mother is a high school graduate; my dad is a high school dropout, but both of them are some of the hardest workers I’ve ever known.
I started my graduate studies at Sinclair Community College here in Dayton, luckily securing a substantial scholarship from the school, as well as a full Pell scholarship due to my family’s income level. I eventually earned an associate’s degree in cybersecurity and computer forensics before transferring to Ohio University to pursue a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.
I see student loans as one of those necessary evils. It’s not that I wanted the debt. Ten thousand dollars in forgiveness would be substantial for me. Is this as much as I would like to see? No. But it’s better than nothing and 20% off my total is still not bad.
“Live within your means”
Stephen Berenson, 59, retired financial analyst
I write from the perspective of a parent who funded two children’s undergraduate studies at private liberal arts colleges and later helped fund a master’s degree program for one of them. We have not taken out any student loans. Instead, we looked at schools where we knew the opportunity to fully fund their education could be met through our contribution and merit-based aid.
Both children were accepted into a few schools where merit aid programs would not suffice, and we had serious discussions as well as the disappointment of the children when we collectively decided that the schools were beyond our financial means. .
Canceling student loans is a slap in the face for parents and students who saved up for college and select schools that were in our price ranges. The government should promote the idea of living within one’s means. I think that message was entirely lost today.
‘$10,000 would barely put a dent in what I owe’
Kaylea Weiler, 36, partner in a law firm
I’m a lawyer who owes $125,000 in student loans. This is after making consistent payments for the 10 years I quit school and paid $25,000 during the interest-free break for the past two years. Prior to the break, my minimum required payment was $1,800 per month. I know that as a partner in a law firm now, I make more money than the average borrower, but I feel buried in debt with no options.
I’m a new mom and I wish I could spend my little ones’ baby and toddler years at home with them, but I can’t afford not to continue working. I had to take out loans because I am one of six children and my parents could not afford to pay for my law studies or support me financially during my studies.
Ten thousand dollars would hardly put a dent in what I owe. I feel conflicted even writing this; there are others much worse off than me. But this is my situation, and I know I’m not alone.
“Cancel all or do nothing”
Erin Bartlett, 42, teacher
St. Paul, Minnesota
I am absolutely crushed at the thought of only $10,000 being forgiven. I’ve been a K-12 teacher in Minnesota for 19 years and I have about $50,000 left to pay back. This debt is crushing. I am currently working two part-time jobs in addition to my full-time job to make ends meet.
I’m so sick of America being one of the only places in the world where education isn’t free. If I could get all my federal student loans forgiven, I could save money for retirement and wouldn’t need to have three jobs. Cancel everything or do nothing.