7 things borrowers say about student loans after Biden’s win

Biden has said he intends to cancel federal student loan debt as part of a COVID-19 relief plan
By: | December 1, 2020
More than 60% of survey respondents who attended private colleges or universities would have chosen a public institution instead if the latter was free. (GettyImages/FatCamera)More than 60% of survey respondents who attended private colleges or universities would have chosen a public institution instead if the latter was free. (GettyImages/FatCamera)

A few borrowers stopped paying off their student loans after Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump while another batch began making smaller payments, a new survey has found.

Not surprisingly, more than 70% of borrowers now “strongly support” or “somewhat support” the four major student loan forgiveness programs that have been proposed by lawmakers, according to the report from Intelligent, a research firm. The survey also found:

  • 9.6% of federal student loan borrowers stopped making payments once Biden won and another 14.4% began making smaller payments.
  • 14% of borrowers plan to skip mandatory payments once the COVID-19 relief program ends knowing loans may be forgiven once Biden takes office.
  • Over 35% of borrowers said they either won’t be able to or are unlikely to be able to make payments when COVID relief ends on Dec. 31.
  • 38% of borrowers who have private student loans would declare bankruptcy if allowed to be the Biden administration.
  • 45% of borrowers would use the income-driven repayment plan Biden has proposed.
  • An overwhelming 82.4% of borrowers support Biden’s plan for making public colleges and universities free for those whose household income is under $125,000.
  • 63% of respondents who attended private colleges or universities would have chosen to attend public institutions instead if they were free.

Biden has said he intends to cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower as part of a COVID-19 relief plan. The president-elected has also suggested canceling all undergraduate debt for borrowers who attend public and historically Black institutions and are making under $125,000.

Biden also has suggested a new plan, however, that is even more generous to those struggling with their debt.


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Biden also wants to eliminate required payments for borrowers making under $25,000 per year. Those who earn more would have to pay 5% of their discretionary income over $25,000 towards their loans each month.

There would still be forgiveness after 20 years, but Biden would work to make sure that the forgiven amount isn’t taxed like it currently is for borrowers.

Senators Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, meanwhile, have proposed forgiving up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

The borrowers surveyed said they would save or invest the money saved from student loan payments or use it to pay off other debts.

Non-borrowers also support forgiveness

In another survey, 56% of American adults—regardless of whether they had loans—said they would support Biden bypassing Congress and canceling student debt by executive order.

A majority of respondents to a Forbes Advisor survey supported forgiving $50,000 in loans, and a quarter of those adults had never borrowed money for college.

Republicans were less likely to support loan forgiveness by executive order than were Democrats.


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