Student Loan Debt Relief Blockage: Causes and Consequences
Student loan debt has been a ubiquitous topic in the United States for several years. The reason is quite simple – the student loan debt has reached a staggering amount of $1.56 trillion as of December 2020 (Source: Federal Reserve Bank of New York). Moreover, with the rise in tuition fees every year, the student debt burden continues to increase. The ongoing pandemic has further exacerbated the issue by adding uncertainties to the job market and financial instability. Several borrowers have defaulted on their loans, and some are unable to make ends meet due to the lack of job opportunities. In this scenario, many people are looking for relief from their student loan debt, leading to a surge in the demand for student loan debt relief. However, despite the increasing demand, student loan debt relief has been blocked due to a host of reasons, which this article will explore.
Causes of Student Loan Debt Blockage
The student loan debt relief blockage can be attributed to several factors, including legal challenges, policy changes, government actions or inactions, and bureaucratic obstacles. Here are some of the main reasons why student loan debt relief has been challenging to implement:
1. Legal Challenges
The first and foremost reason for blocked student loan debt relief is legal challenges. In 2019, a group of borrowers filed a lawsuit against the Department of Education, claiming that it illegally denied their applications for public service loan forgiveness. The Department of Education argued that the borrowers did not meet the eligibility criteria for the program, which caused a significant delay in the application process. The lawsuit is still ongoing, delaying the release of further guidelines.
2. Policy Changes and Confusion
The public service loan forgiveness program was introduced in 2007 to offer loan forgiveness to individuals who work in public service or nonprofit jobs. However, borrowers who applied for this program have complained of confusion and misunderstandings on the application guidelines, resulting in a high number of rejections. The Trump administration proposed several changes to the program, which caused even more confusion among borrowers, who were uncertain if they could still qualify for the program.
3. Government Actions or Inactions
Another significant reason for blocked student loan debt relief is government inaction. The current administration has failed to treat this issue as a priority. Despite the high level of student debt, there have been no significant policy changes to ease the pain of borrowers. Moreover, the budget allocated to the Department of Education for loan forgiveness programs has remained constant over the years, showing the lack of seriousness the government has toward this issue.
4. Bureaucratic Obstacles
In addition to the above reasons, administrative bottlenecks are another significant reason for the blockage in student loan debt relief. The application process for loan forgiveness is lengthy and cumbersome, with varying guidelines and eligibility criteria. The borrowers are required to provide an extensive record of their loan history and current financial situation, which makes the process both challenging and time-consuming. It is also not uncommon for borrowers to wait for months or even years for a decision.
Consequences of Student Loan Debt Blockage
The student loan debt blockage has severe consequences for Americans. The situation has left thousands of borrowers in financial desolation with no hope of relief in sight. Here are some of the consequences that blocked student loan debt relief has:
1. Growing Student Loan Debt
As the student loan debt blockage continues, the student loan debt continues to grow at an alarming rate. The borrowers are not able to pay their loans, while the interest rates keep piling on. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the percentage of student loan debt that is 90 days or more delinquent or in default is at its highest point since 2012.
2. Psychological Distress
Borrowers with student debt face a lot of stress and anxiety about their current and future financial situation. The growing debt burden often leads to severe depression, resulting in negative impacts on their overall quality of life. A study by Student Loan Hero found that about 61% of Americans who have student loan debt feel anxiety when they think about their outstanding balance.
3. Limited Opportunities
Student loan debt can limit the earning potential of the borrowers as they are unable to pursue higher-paying jobs and career paths. They feel trapped in lower-paying jobs or become underemployed and do not have enough income to pay off their loan debt.
4. Economic Burden
The student loan debt crisis has ramifications for the broader economy as well. High levels of loan debt affect young people’s spending power and can lead to delayed homeownership, lower entrepreneurship rates, and reduced consumer spending, which the economy depends on.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. How much student loan debt does the US have?
A. As of December 2020, the total student loan debt in the US is around $1.56 trillion.
Q. Why is student loan debt blocking happening?
A. The student loan debt blockage is mainly due to legal challenges, policy changes, government inactions, and administrative bottlenecks.
Q. What is the public service loan forgiveness program?
A. The public service loan forgiveness program is a federal program that offers loan forgiveness to individuals who work in public service or nonprofit jobs.
Q. What are the consequences of student loan debt blockage?
A. The consequences include growing student loan debt, psychological distress, limited opportunities, and economic burden.
Q. Can student loan debt be discharged in bankruptcy?
A. It is difficult to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy under current laws.
The student loan debt crisis has plagued the United States for years, and the system continues to fail borrowers. The ongoing debt blockage has left thousands of borrowers in financial crisis and psychological distress. The causes of blocked student loan debt relief are varied, including legal challenges, policy changes, government inactions, and bureaucratic obstacles. The delay in releasing proper guidelines and lack of clarity on the eligibility criteria have made the application process lengthy and cumbersome. This situation calls for immediate actions from the government and the concerned authorities to ease the burden of the borrowers and move towards a more equitable and affordable higher education system.
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Student loan debt relief has been blocked in the US due to legal challenges, policy changes, government inaction, and bureaucratic obstacles, according to an article in Forbes. The ongoing pandemic has exacerbated the issue by adding uncertainty to the job market and financial instability. The student debt burden has already surpassed $1.56tn, which has caused severe consequences for Americans. The growing debt burden often leads to severe depression and anxiety and limits the earning potential of the borrowers. High levels of loan debt affect young people’s spending power and can lead to delayed homeownership, lower entrepreneurship rates, and reduced consumer spending.