The Student Loan Pause Is Relief for CSUDH Alumnicsudhbulletin April 27, 2022 0 COMMENTS
The Biden Administration extended the pause on student loan payments to the relief of borrowers. Photo credit: Towfiqu barbhuiya. Unsplash.com.
By: Nisvan Guzman, Staff Reporter.
On April 6, the Biden-Harris Administration extended the student loan payment pause through August 31. The extension is intended to provide relief for student borrowers who are still affected by hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The extension will provide additional time for borrowers to plan for the resumption of payments, reducing the risk of delinquency and defaults after restart”, stated the press release posted on the Department of Education website.
Evelyn Salazar, a graduate student studying Social Work at CSUDH, was relieved by the news.
“It absolutely helps,” she said. Salazar initially took out student loans as an undergraduate student at Goucher College.
Before the pause, she was making payments of $200 a month toward her student loans, an amount based on her full-time employment status as a case manager for a legal aid organization.
Now that that payment is deferred, it’s allowed her the flexibility to work less hours and return to school to earn her master’s degree.
Jose Meza, a 2018 CSUDH graduate with a BS in Computer Science, took out a loan to pay his tuition. He has not made a payment to his loan in two years as a result of the deferred payments and it has been a huge help for him.
“It’s helped me pay for rent. Rent has been very expensive in California and as you know it went up a lot last year,” Meza said.
Once the extension expires and loan payments resume in August, Meza claims he is not ready to begin making payments again. His main concern about his five-figure loan is the high interest rate which hovers around 8-9 percent.
One borrower who depended on side jobs, such as choreographing quinceñera dances and waitressing, to help pay her bills has struggled since the pandemic shut down the economy.
“Once the pandemic hit everything stopped for me. I was left with nothing for a good while. My family and I started [to] rely on my mom since she was the only one with a steady-ish income,” said Helena Espinoza, who graduated from CSUDH in 2021 with a BA in Film, Television, and Media.
“Knowing that I do not have to worry about paying just yet is relieving because I can use that money towards current bills. I have very slowly started to save money just in case I do have to pay for my loans,” Espinoza said.
On the Biden administration’s handling of student loans, Meza and Espinoza are satisfied with the work being done to help students but think more can be done.
“I’m glad that he deferred loans but I definitely feel as if he could do more. Some loan forgiveness would be great”, Meza said.
“I am happy that there is talk about taking the student debt and completely removing it from students. I mean, who wouldn’t be happy to know that their loans can be canceled”, Espinoza said.
However, she is uncertain about what the future holds.
“But what I am not happy with is how close they are cutting it by telling students the probability of them paying it back. It is so up in the air that they expect us borrowers to be ready,” Espinoza said.
Despite the amount of debt and financial instability that comes with it, these CSUDH alumni do not regret earning their degrees.
“It was worth it,” Meza, a software engineer at YARDI Systems, said.
“It was worth it because at the end of the day I was lucky enough to even receive those loans. As my 7th grade teacher said, ‘see the loan as an investment in yourself,” Espinoza said.