COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — President Biden announced recently that the COVID-19 pause on student loans would be extended until the end of the year, but it doesn’t apply to all loans.
And loan forgiveness — wiping out student debt — is still a dream debated by politicians, not a strategy for students who’ve borrowed.
Andrew Pentis, a senior writer at Student Loan Hero by Lending Tree, and a student loan counsellor, said the moratorium applies only to federal direct-loan borrowers.
“If you think you have a private loan, then you will want to call your lender and see what sort of repayment options they might offer,” said Pentis. “Those options are going to pale in comparison to this federal loan moratorium, but certainly you might want to be aware of any resources that are at your disposal.”
For undergrads, federal loans are Direct Subsidized Loans, or Direct Unsubsidized Loans. Subsidized loans are cheaper, but only available for students who need to be subsidized. Other people will get offered direct unsubsidized loans.
Another type of federal loan, Direct PLUS Loans works for parents of dependent undergrads, graduate students, and professional students. The most you can get is cost of attendance minus any other financial aid received.
If student loan forgiveness is enacted, it will most likely be only for these federal loans, said Pentis.
“The majority of proposals that are being discussed in Washington D.C., mostly by the left side of the aisle specifically cater to government-owned student debt — so that is federal student loans. If you have a private loan you are unlikely to benefit from any sort of mass forgiveness proposal.
“Progressive Democrats have been pushing for this [loan forgiveness] idea, but they’ve yet to gain enough bipartisan support, both from more moderate members of their party, as well as Republicans, to get something like student loan forgiveness done.
“If you are a federal student loan borrower, it’s not the best idea to pin your hopes on forgiveness coming down the pike any time soon,” Pentis said.
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said this month that he is in favor of discharging outstanding student loans of more than 517,000 Americans with a total and permanent disability (TPD) and had signed a letter about this to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.