WASHINGTON, D.C. — Miriam Stoll is well educated. She has a bachelor’s and master’s degree, as well as a doctorate.
But with all of those degrees, she also has $500,000 in student loan debt.
Prior to the pandemic, her payments were around $1,500 a month. Stoll said it was a relief when former President Donald Trump put in place a pause.
“The extra money I wasn’t putting towards my [private] loan, I was able to put towards other things. Or even just savings,” Stoll said.
But as the end date for the moratorium nears in October, some Democrats sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to extend the pause.
“More time is essential to ensure that 40 million people aren’t thrown back into chaos and a really broken system,” Student Borrower Protection Center Executive Director Seth Frotman said. The center is a nonprofit focused on alleviating student debt.
Frotman said the reason for an extension is not necessarily because of COVID-19.
Instead, he said the extra time would allow Biden to make promised structural changes to the student loan system.
“October is very soon from now, and I’m just very worried that it’s hard to see how those promises are fulfilled before people start getting those bills every month," he said.
He said the issues to address are vast, from a lack of oversight of the student loan system to borrowers being denied for available loan relief programs, to borrowers receiving bad information from private loan companies.
“I think the loan forgiveness program could be easier,” Stoll said.
Stoll works for the government and is in a loan relief program, which means after 10 years of paying, her remaining federal loan will be canceled.
“There are tons of programs out there that people just don’t know about them,” Stoll said.
Stoll said if the pause is extended, she can focus on other costs filling up her bank account.
“My partner and I had a bought a house recently and so there are things that I could put that money towards. On the other hand, I’m very well aware I took that money out, and I have to pay it back,” Stoll said.