Student loan borrowers over 50 go on strike if payments resume

  • The Debt Collective has announced a group of student loan borrowers over 50 who will go on strike if payments resume.
  • Known as “Fifty Over Fifty,” the group intends to make $0 payouts if the break expires after August 31.
  • Dry. Miguel Cardona said borrowers will know “soon” if the break will be extended.

Millions of people in debt are one paycheck away from resuming payments – but a group of older student borrowers have decided they won’t be among them.

On Thursday, the Debt Collective – a syndicate of debtors fighting for the cancellation of student debt – launched the “Fifty Over Fifty”, a group of 50 student borrowers aged 50 and over who have pledged to strike if the President Joe Biden resumes payments after August 31.

According to the press release, these borrowers are striking to highlight “the destructive impact of student debt on older Americans,” and they are part of a larger action organized by the Debt Collective that would help borrowers who want and can strike to get their payments down to $0 by enrolling in an income-driven repayment plan that would allow monthly payments of $0, taking advantage of targeted loan forgiveness programs, or staying at school and deferring loans during this period.

“I’m going on strike because I just can’t pay off my student loans,” Fifty Over Fifty forward Dawn Wills said in the press release.

“I’ve been paying for over 20 years and the interest keeps piling up and the amount has gone from $50,000 to over $100,000,” Wills added. “I have tried several times to be relieved by working in associations to obtain public service cuts, but without success. I feel like I am in a trap with no way out. I cannot spend my life in worry about this insurmountable debt, so I’m just not going to pay it. I’m tired.

The 50 strikers collectively hold nearly $6 million in student debt, according to the Debt Collective, with several of them having balances in excess of $400,000. The organization noted that it “does not encourage student debtors to intentionally default on their student loans given the adverse financial consequences that the federal government wrongly administers,” such as wage garnishment and garnishment of benefits. federal.

Insider has already spoken to older borrowers who have no hope of paying off their debt balances before they die. Linda Navarrom, for example, is 70 years old and she originally borrowed $20,000 when she attended college in 1990, but still owes $145,000 due to accrued interest. She said it’s like being “on a hamster wheel, and you won’t get off”.

“There’s a real fear of dying in there,” Navarro said. “And the best part is my family has to prove that I’m dead so the loan will die too.”

The payment pause is set to expire in less than two weeks, and it’s the closest federal borrowers will be to restarting payments without an update from Biden. Earlier extensions to the payment pause have been announced with at least nearly a month’s notice, and although Education Secretary Miguel Cardona has said borrowers will “soon” know if the date of August 31 expiration will be pushed back, leaving very little time to financially account for these changes.

Additionally, Biden confirmed he would make a decision on a broad student loan forgiveness by Aug. 31, apparently considering $10,000 in relief for borrowers earning less than $150,000 a year. But many advocates have called for at least $50,000 in aid with no income cap, to ensure that any debt forgiveness is as costly as possible.

“We urge your administration not to threaten the financial security of people in debt as a tactic to fight inflation,” 180 organizations wrote to Biden in June. “Instead, our organizations urge you to adopt robust student debt forgiveness that is not means-tested or require an opt-in for participation and to fully implement this policy before the due date of any student loan bills.”

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