As part of COVID relief, cancel student debt

In a letter led by NEA, more than 30 organizations urged congressional leaders to include student loan debt cancellation in any future COVID-19 relief package. Interest in the issue is sky-high—nearly 2,000 people logged on for an NEA webinar on the issue. The average educator begins a career with about $35,000 in student loan debt. The Student Debt Emergency Relief Act (H.R. 6363), introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), would cancel at least $30,000 of outstanding student loan debt, boosting consumer spending and reducing the financial strain on educators and other borrowers.

Tell Congress to Include Student Debt Cancellation in COVID-19 Relief Efforts


124 responses to “As part of COVID relief, cancel student debt

  1. Lesson #1.
    Free Community College & Free State University, as a country…We need to maintain a strong Education system, from K-12, and Higher Education.
    Lesson #2.
    Raise the minimum starting salary for public school teachers to at least $50,000.00 across all states… currently non-equitable starting salaries, with teachers able to apply for Federal and State Assistance, working 2nd jobs..
    Lesson # 3.
    Raise the Minimum Wage..Fight for Fifteen at least to start… in 1980 the Minimum Wage was actually $5.00 per hour in the State of Illinois…that was 40 years ago!

  2. Any relief would help! College for me at at 49 years old and Master’s Degree after that… I accumulated $90k in student loan debt. We also pay for a Parent Plus Loan for our daughter which is $9k. Husband is a teacher and was National Guard so he got the GI Bill to help with his bills..We have tried Loan Forgiveness on the PPL and it doesn’t qualify. I am not eligible for LF until I work in my Mental Health for an amount of time and make payments. We can’t afford to make payments on both, so mine are in forbearance. Student Loan Forgiveness would be a blessing..and we would be able to breathe easier.

    1. I hope this will help those who have had student loans who have been dormant due financial issues

    2. I totally agree! I am a teacher at age 57 and I do not qualify for any loan forgiveness. My husband is self employed and his business has decreased due to covid 19. Very hard to continue making those payments. We have also paid parents plus loans for our son. Any relief would be helpful.

  3. I totally agree, because I am not a teacher I don’t qualify for any forgiveness on my students loans and I have worked in a low income rural school for over 20 years. Just because I don’t teach doesn’t mean that I don’t work with students and help them with their issues. It is bad enough that my pay is lower than a teachers and in some cases I have more education, but I get no help paying off my education costs.

    1. You should be eligible the Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Loan. Working for any Public job works. Government (local, state, federal) Armed Forces, Police Department,…etc.
      Anywhere that receives public funds. Check it out!!

    2. Dear Shannon,
      As a guest educator otherwise known as a substitute teacher I have had maybe a unique opportunity to work 3 to 4 years at each campus. Like you I have and extensive amount of education. Teachers in California have to have at least a Bachelor’s degree and hundreds of observation and student teaching hours plus continuous professional development training. With a MA.Ed in hand working in rural areas, again like you I was disappointed to know that my years aren’t acknowledge. This is after I’ve researched, emailed, called and met with entities concerning this matter. Now that the pandemic has changed our lives as educators you would think some relief would be considered at best as an incentive to retain those of us who want to stay.

  4. I am retiring this July. I have ALWAYS worked in schools that were deemed Title 1 schools and for the majority of my career (over 25 years) as a special education teacher. Because I refinanced my government loans with a private institution I have been unable to have my loans forgiven. This information was not shared at the time of refinancing and I feel it extremely unfair after giving so much of myself to the service of students with disabilities, that I get to retire still holding student debt!!! I would be so appreciative to have ANY or ALL of my debt forgiven.

    1. Wow! I totally agree. All of my career has been spent in Title 1 schools in Mississippi. Wouldn’t it be nice to have my loan forgiven.

    2. I completely agree. I started college and then changed career paths after having 2 children and because I had debt before completing my degree(s) I have never qualified for forgiveness. I have taught special education for 20 years in a low income area and I am still paying my student loans!

    3. I am totally in the same boat as you! I have been teaching for 24 years and still have $14,000 left to pay on student loans. As, of right now, I have 5 years left of paying. I moved to South Dakota and also took a huge pay cut. Anything would help, even if they would lower/get rid of the interest on the loans.

  5. Thank you for bringing this issue to the forefront! Student debt weighs heavily on our family. I am a newly retired school counselor, living on a limited fixed income. My husband, at 73 years old, is STILL paying off his student loan because he went back to school to get his masters later in life in order to teach at the community college level. While we were able to help our two sons with undergraduate tuition because they went to in-state public schools, my oldest is now grappling with over a $100,000 in student loans because he went on to get his masters. He barely lives paycheck to paycheck and cannot keep up with interest alone. Therefore I have been contributing $500/month just to keep the debt from ballooning further. That is money that would otherwise go directly back into the economy. How can young people get a start in life with this kind of burden on their shoulders? Lifting student debt will stimulate the economy, give young people hope in their future, and prevent avoidable mental health issues related to constant oppressive financial stress. PLEASE, help provide HOPE for their future and therefore our nation as a whole.

  6. My daughter is a nurse and between she and her husband their student loan debt is over $2,000.00 per month. That is a staggering amount. During any time of life that is a hard debt to pay, but especially during this pandemic and the uncertainty of our nations future economic security. The cancellation of $ 30,000.00 per student not per couple would greatly help out not just their household but the countless thousands in the same position. I truly hope that you will take these comments into consideration as you present this case to those who make the final decisions concerning this.

  7. Shame on this Country for allowing our children to become victims of predatory loan practices. A generation of youth that will struggle to participate in the “American Dream”. No one should have to go into extreme debt just because they wanted to go to school. Forgive these ridiculous loans now!

  8. I do not believe in cancelling student loan debt in this bill. It has nothing to do with the virus.
    You could work on deferring and cancelling this years payments.
    In another bill that has nothing to do with the virus, reducing interest and opportunities for defer and cancel due to working in public support jobs. If not, cancel the interest not the debt.

    1. Kelly,
      I understand what you are saying. But the bill is a stimulus bill. This economy is going to be hurting when we “return to normal”. I would love to take the $200.00 per month that I pay for my student loans, and pump it back into the local economy. It would be like a gift that keeps on giving.

    2. Part of the problem is that teachers are underpaid for amount of education and continued education required. If teachers can be paid more then they can pay back more. After 14 years of teaching with 2 credentials I make $64,000. Many teachers in special education leave in the first few years. I have a challenging job with minimal support. As credential requirements change I have to pay to earn additional authorizations. (Autism authorization added $3k)

      1. I’m a social worker in community mental health and while I could qualify for loan forgiveness in 10yrs In that 10yrs I could be taking that 200+ a month and using it help the economy vs continuing to line the pockets of nelnet.

    3. I am sure someone helped you with your schooling. I know people who feel the same way you do and their children didn’t pay anything to go to college because they had a big farming operation. I was a teacher and paid full tuition for my child. It was unfair. Those kids had new cars and no debt!

    4. As a young single mother, borrowing money to go to school was my only option. When I graduated and began teaching my income was so low that my mother sent me $150 a month for the first year just to be able to pay for food and rent for us. We qualified for food stamps while I was teaching for the first few years. During that time, my student loan providers decided I made enough to pay $350 a month. This was before Obama’s protections. They would call my classroom phone, yelling. I went into default. In the time that I was in default, they would not work with me to lower the payments, and tacked on $35,000 in default fees, making my payment even more unaffordable, and it took 5 years before my income went up enough for me to even begin making payments. That 35k in fees is more than what I borrowed. My debt was sold when my lender collapsed, so that the fees became hard wired into my student loans. The Department of Education, through Navient, garnished and made me pay a double payment to get rehabilitation from default. The only reason I could make those $900 a month payments is because my grandmother died and left me a little money, but I wasn’t allowed to just give them that money to get out of default, and yet those $900 a month payments don’t count towards loan forgiveness. I have made $30,000 in payments to the Department of Education and yet I still owe $42,000. And I only borrowed $30k in the first place. Eventually I will qualify for PSLF, but now I don’t know if I can afford the payments. My young adult son is now woefully underemployed due to all this, but unfortunately not laid off, because we’d be better off financially, and having to stay in my apartment. If you think the coming economic collapse over Covid and student loan debt are not connected, you don’t understand economics. I was on track to try to apply for a mortgage in a few years. Now, with how much I will be off track from this, I will never afford owning a home, I’d be having to retire before I could pay it off. The bottom line is that consumers keep the economy afloat and we were already in a situation where only the wealthiest Americans were doing well. If the middle class is paycheck to paycheck, who is spending the money to keep the economy healthy? The middle and working class is who is paying student loans. Forgiveness means that money goes into the consumer economy and other consumer loans instead of interest payments to banks and the Fed. It definitely connects.

      1. Unbelievable, I feel so bad for you. Its disgusting how the teaching profession has been attacked by the far right.
        When election time comes, remove the swine in Congress and put people in place that work for THE PEOPLE, not Lobbyists.

    5. Cancelling all student or parent loans is the best way to have the economy flourish again. It is the largest amount of debt in the US – higher than credit cards and mortgages. This would allow for money to circulate. It would have an enormous bountiful impact

  9. Like its early American predecessor, indentured servitude, student loan debt is a type of debt peonage that yokes young graduates for sometimes several decades of their lives and forces them into jobs not so much of their choosing as ones of material necessity. Often it prevents them from exploring avenues more related to meaningful pursuits akin to their hearts’ desires at a time when such exploration is traditional.
    Even when that is not an issue, student loan debt can postpone getting married, starting a family, buying a home of one’s own, and taking risks associated with being young like starting and financing a business.

  10. As more and more people acquire ridiculous debt, there will be less and less people that can afford to go into teaching. I am a teacher getting close to retirement and was lucky to finish school when it was still affordable. Teachers now must have more than one job to pay off their debt. If this continues, teachers will simply choose a different profession, increasing our shortage. I think someone needs to pay attention to what is going on in education – really pay attention. If education ends up privatized, teachers will make more but parents will not be able to afford the “free” education they are entitled to.

  11. I have a federal student loan that is owned by a commercial bank, so, I don’t even qualify for the little help that the last COVID package had! I would love help with my student loan which I’ve paid more in interest than the actual loan itself! I would even settle for an increase in my interest that I currently have @ 8.25%. I’m ok with paying for my debt but at an interest rate that I can afford. I’m getting close to retirement but won’t be able to retire not with my student loan hanging over my head! Also, I’m not eligible for any kind of help!
    I would love to see help for those federal student loans held by commercial banks in the next COVID package if that possible. These banks are crooks if you ask me!

    1. Yes! I agree! I don’t mind paying the debt I took out but I am way beyond that amount! I also have private government Teri loans that don’t qualify because at the time I had to claim my parents income even though I didn’t live with them and they could not afford to help me pay. My mom has even been jobless the entire year prior and I got no government loans. My parents did NOT have money. My only choice to continue school was to take out the Teri loans or quit school. I was promised so many times loan forgiveness after 120 payments but now that the time has come I am told nope that was wrong that I again need to have my loans transferred and start a zero payments credited. It is highway robbery what the government has done to hardworking citizens in this country trying to better themselves and the country.

  12. I have 81,000 dollars in student loan debt and can’t afford it. I’m an educator also. I don’t regret going to school to further my education and I encourage my children to do the same. My only concern is that I’m afraid for my children to have to face the obstacles that I’m facing.

  13. It would help stimulate the economy and free people from debt burdens and jobs not plentiful. The taxpayer bailed out the banks and other big corporations , now the little people need help. If the poorest cannot survive, it will be bad for all concerned. The country cannot dig out if the situation is extremely dire. Something big has to be done. Put people to work outdoors like during the Great Depression. The infrastructure is a mess and it would provide jobs. Create green jobs and training. Expand research for all infectious diseases and restore the CDC.

  14. Both of our sons have college debt. Even though we helped them with their original 4 years of college, they both left with debt. Putting the present situation aside, I have always said that the interest should be below 2-3 %. We are punishing our middle class students whose parents can’t afford to pay totally for their college and who make too much money for their children to receive any kind of assistance. It really isn’t fair. If they don’t forgive the debt at least make it interest-free.

  15. I am less than 10 years from retirement and I still owe over 30k in student loans. I have been a devoted educator since ’95 and at times had to decide which bill I wasn’t going to pay! I have been denied for the Teacher Forgiveness Loan, despite working in a Title I school! I want to be able to retire in peace and not be in a position where I have to take another job in order to make ends meet!

  16. Somehow, predatory does not seem a strong enough word to describe the institutions who were nothing but loan sharks. Their practices have affected a quality of life and are a punishment for those who only wanted to advance themselves through furthering their education. There ought to be a flat rate of interest instead of the current avaricious ones and there ought to be a way of consolidating several loans at a lower rate as well. It seems the current practices were intentionally designed to create a population who would forever be paying off an impossible debt which, in spite of regular payments, only grows larger.

    1. This situation is so real for me. I managed to pay for two years at county college while working as an instructional assistant. I continued on to earn a BA in k-12 English with Special Ed and History minors always maintaining a 4.0 average. I’ve always had two part time jobs raised a family, and worked for a school district for 35 years. I’m paying $350 monthly to satisfy $52,000 in loans. My vehicle is 21 years old as there’s no way to save for a newer one. I’m 61 years old and would appreciate the miracle of having this debt disappear. I’m exhausted.

  17. I personally carry $80k in student loan debt from my master’s degree, and another $20k that enabled my son to complete his BA in Music Education. My payments — even on income based repayment — are nearly $11k for my own loans, plus another $250 for the PLUS loans. Nearly all of that money goes to pay the interest on the loans, with very little of it going to actually service the debt. I am actually thankful to the COVID-19 debt forbearance that has actually freed up an extra $1000 a month that I can put back into the economy in my area, rather into the pockets of the wealthy people who own my loan debts.

  18. I knew from early on that I wanted to be a teacher after college. I worked to overcome a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), became fluent in Spanish partly to reach out to our large Spanish-speaking student population, served under-privileged groups of kids for years, returned to school to pursue my passion of teaching students with special needs…….. needless to say, I’ve worked pretty darn hard. We all have and will continue to. I teach my students that hard work and heart pay off….. but do they? With the burden of my student loans (there was no way for me to work AND go to college at the same time), I’m scraping by and I believe I will be until I die. These financial predators need to remember they wouldn’t be were they are now if it weren’t for teachers!

  19. There are teachers in my county who cannot afford to rent their own apartment. They are in their thirties and are either sharing apartments or still living with their parents!! Shame on the students loan system!

  20. I have been diligently paying my student loan debt for over 10 years. Last summer I realized that my loans did not qualify for the Teacher loan forgiveness program. i was devastated. It seems these loans will be hanging over my head for a lifetime. But with your help this all can change. I urge you to give my family an opportunity to move on a move forward.

  21. Student loan debt cancellation will not solve the problem that led to this trillion dollar mess; predatory lending practices! Student loan borrowers are the only class of consumers who are denied bankruptcy protection. If Congress would pass one of two existing bills, HR2648, S1414, bankruptcy protections would be reinstated for all student loan borrowers. This action would level the playing field against predatory lenders and provide a vehicle for consumers an escape hatch when life throws you a curve ball, I.e., illness, loss of job, etc. Getting a college degree should not include a life sentence of debt that prohibits one from investing in the economy or loom in fear of one’s license/credential being suspended because you can’t afford to pay your student loan payment. If cancellation of debt is to be effective, it also needs to address the root cause of predatory lending practices. Please contact your members of Congress and urge them to cosponsor one or both of these bills!

  22. I am a public school and university teacher (a job and a half) and my husband is also a public school teacher. Our income as teachers made scholarships and grants impossible for our three grown sons to pay for college (all three are college graduates, two have Master’s degrees) any other way than through a combination of student and parent loans. Each of my sons owes between $50 and $70 thousand dollars in student loans, my husband owes $30 thousand dollars in student loans, and I owe $140,000 in parent loans that were necessary to help my sons complete their degrees. Both my husband and I are just four years from retirement and as Shawnda stated above we will be paying we “die”. Something needs to be done!

  23. I have been paying student loans for 19 years. I have applied twice for loan forgiveness programs, which I qualified for both times until the last minute due to the reason that I was “not in the right payment program” both times. I changed the payment program and was denied again. What???? Who makes up these rules? It seems the rules can change at any time without notice. We also have a parent-plus loan which requires a $616.00 monthly payment. Add that to my student loan payment of $270.00, and my husband’s student loan payment of $433.00 a month it brings our monthly total to $1,329.00 for student loans per month. And of that amount, barely anything goes to the loan principal. Most goes to interest, How is this fair? HELP!!!! I will be retiring with this obscene amount of student debt.

  24. My son is an Occupational hand therapist. There is a world wide shortage of professionals in this area. We paid for his BS degree but he was responsible for his Masters and license. It was a three year full time intensive program so he could not go to college and work. He graduated with $75,000 in student loan debt. He is 36 yrs old. He pays over $500 a month in interest not really touching the principal. He feels like he will never be able to pay this off. Please reduce or eliminate this crushing financial debt.

    1. Yes. We owe it to ourselves you get a quality education and provide a life for our children, but sometimes when we look at the expenseouts is a bit unbearable. It’s not easy nor affordable when paying bills and a $500/month loan payment.

  25. I graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Education. I was able to qualify for enough financial aid and, together with my part-time job, was able to stay afloat, even through my student teaching. Now, my 18-year-old sons are now students and only qualified for $11,000/annually! I am the only income and we know what elementary teachers receive so I can’t help but question what has changed so drastically in the last 12 years? College has now become an even bigger example of elitism. I thought the whole point in becoming an America the Free, was to get away from Europe’s cast system. I’ve heard many variations of the same response, “we live in a country where a person can change their class” but not if they can’t afford the education required to “climb the ladder”. Rant over, please make it easier for the next generation to succeed. They are the future of our country and we’ve screwed up enough of it for them all ready.

  26. Any student loan debt that’s cancelled also needs to include privatized loans. We’ve been told for years to refinance our student loans. If only federal student loans are tackled that leaves many teachers still needing assistance

  27. I am 62 years old and $83,000 in debt. I went all the way to my Master’s degree and racked up a terrible student loan debt in the process. I became a teacher as my second career so now I can never retire because I can never get out from underneath the student loan debt. Someone please help us

    1. This is so terrible – I feel for you because I am 62 but am fortunate to not have this debt. When I came through the system, much of my debt was forgiven due to working in public service. I think this program was done away with. This is so sad… I agree that student loan debt for public service jobs should be forgiven with some requirements like previously. For each year of our teaching in public school, 20% of the debt was forgiven. So after 5 years, it was totally forgiven. Other debt I managed to pay off but maybe because I went to a public university? I pray that student debt could be wiped out or at the very least, get rid of the interest payments. Do more for public service workers – especially where there’s a shortage of these workers!

  28. I owe close to 50, 000 in student loan dept. I am one year from retiring as I did not start college early in my life. I will never see this debt paid in my life time without some help. I have worked for 19 years as a teacher in a low income district but due to my original loans not being federal loans I was denied 17,500 forgiveness. I would love to go into retirement with a much smaller dept and in consequence a much smaller payment.

    1. I never received my diploma because my school was discredited so I paid 34,000 for nothing. I spent all that money just to work at a call center

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *