Hundreds of thousands of public service workers, including teachers and educators across the country, have had their federal student loans forgiven over the last month as part of the Biden administration's move to deliver promised relief to some borrowers.
Republicans in Washington continue to argue that forgiveness plans proposed by the White House are outside of the President's power. But those who have had their loans forgiven under the SAVE plan say they'll be facing far less financial uncertainty when federal student loan repayments restart next month.
On Aug. 22, the Biden Administration rolled out the SAVE plan, a new income-driven repayment plan to help borrowers with upcoming payments. Many can cut their monthly payments to zero.
According to the Biden administration, 804,000 borrowers on income-driven repayment plans have been making repayments for over 20 years but never got promised relief. An estimated 662,000 public service workers, including teachers, will now see debt relief under the plan.
Susan Vincent, a 78-year-old science teacher from Florida, is one of those educators who had their federal student loans forgiven last week.
"It's a huge relief for me but I feel so sad so many people are not in the same position. It continues to be a struggle for them," Vincent told Scripps News.
After going back to school in her 50s, Vincent accrued more than $57,000 in federal student loans. She owed so much money, she came out of retirement this summer to substitute teach in New York City.
"I was thinking, I'm going to be paying this until I'm dead," she added. "And that's the case for a lot of people. It stretches out forever and feels hopeless."
Scripps News spoke with multiple educators in the last month. Many shared similar sentiments about their loans not being forgiven under public service arrangements.
"The thing I struggle with is I've worked as an educator for almost 20 years and I don't qualify for any of the assistance programs or forgiveness," said educator Morgan Covert.
The Department of Education estimates 43 million people in this country owe a collective $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt. Many haven't made a monthly payment since March of 2020 when President Trump paused payments. But interest on federal student loans resumed Sept. 1, with payments restarting Oct. 1.
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