Many Student Borrowers Say They’re Not Ready to Repay

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That’s how many fully employed people say they won’t be financially secure enough to resume student loan payments in February once a federal pause on the payments ends, a new survey shows.

Twenty-one percent of fully employed borrowers believe they will never be financially secure enough to resume payments, according to the November survey by the Student Debt Crisis advocacy group and Savi, a tech company and online resource for student loan borrowers. The survey polled more than 33,000 student borrowers who follow Student Debt Crisis, 69% of whom were fully employed.

While the sample surveyed is not necessarily representative of all student borrowers nationwide, it does suggest a certain anxiety among some borrowers as a special pandemic pause on interest and payments draws closer to its Jan. 31 end date. It also points to a heavy financial burden from the loans, with about 28% of all borrowers saying they would have to devote 36% or more of their income to loan payments once they resumed.

While they watch the forbearance clock ticking down, borrowers are keeping their eye on President Joe Biden, who promised during his 2020 election campaign to forgive at least $10,000 of student loan debt per borrower, but who has yet to announce any concrete plans for broad-based forgiveness. Meanwhile, though, the government has announced forgiveness for certain borrowers, including a sweeping expansion of an existing program that allows public servants to have their loan balances wiped out.

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