Following the Biden administration’s attempt to forgive student loans, which was struck down by the Supreme Court earlier this summer, many borrowers were left exasperated, even as efforts toward another loan forgiveness program continue.
President Joe Biden’s plan would have canceled $10,000, or up to $20,000 in some cases, for over 30 million federal student loan borrowers. Despite the Court’s decision, borrowers can still get their student debt forgiven through a few other avenues, such as public service loan forgiveness, income-driven repayment forgiveness, teacher loan forgiveness and military service.
For John Fire Thunder, a former student in Bozeman, Montana, his $47,000 forgiveness for $51,000 in debt came from “making payments on his loan for over 35 years and having administrative failures finally fixed.”
“As you can imagine, I was pretty excited when I found out my student loan was going to be discharged. I thought this was a debt that I was probably gonna have to take to the grave with me,” he told the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in a letter to the editor. “There seemed no way of getting rid of it. Even after filing for bankruptcy a few years ago the debt was still there.”
For Thunder, his debt started out as a $12,000 loan, which eventually increased to a $51,000 loan over time because of an 8.25 percent interest rate.
Not only did the debt continue to grow, but so did various difficulties and headaches. There were inaccurate records of how long Thunder had been paying off the loan amount, which seemed to reset whenever it went to a different loan servicer, according to Thunder.
And despite getting most of the loan forgiven, not everyone was happy to hear the news when he mentioned it to his co-workers.
“Their reactions were surprising,” he said in his letter. “A few of them responded with visible anger. I thought they would be happy for me. I think they think that by my loan being discharged, it’s going to raise their taxes.
The reaction was a shock because he expected others to be glad for him, considering his difficulties in getting the loan forgiven in the first place.
“No one should have to be burdened with unforgivable debt,” Thunder wrote. “I just wonder if they’re just as angry at corporate welfare and the trillions spent on endless war?”
For the many Americans still without any loan forgiveness, the Biden administration is at least trying to come up with an alternative program. Four million people have already signed up for Biden’s new, more affordable student loan repayment plan called Saving on a Valuable Education, or SAVE.