Student loan debt is a serious concern for students all over the country, as has been proven by the incredible response to a group created on Facebook by a law school graduate (who is $80,000 in debt), called “Cancel Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy.” Under certain circumstances, the federal government will cancel the debt from all or part of an education loan. This is the process of student loan forgiveness. Considering the troubled economy plus a growing number of students who, after graduating, cannot afford their monthly payments on their modest salaries, it is no wonder this group got the frenzy of attention it did.
The Little Facebook Group That Could
Robert Appelbaum created the “Cancel Student Loan Debt to Stimulate the Economy” Facebook group in response to the recurring news about business executives being bailed out by the government and using the money for bonuses and other luxuries. Rather than complain to his friends, he created the Facebook group only to find, to his surprise, that in a relatively short period of time, over 100,000 people joined. Not only did they click a button – which is all it takes to be a member of one of the thousands of Facebook groups out there – but they were taking action, calling for Congress to take legislative action towards student loan forgiveness.
Buried in Debt: Students Struggle
Robert found that his story – whereby the modest salary of $36,000 a year that he made right out of law school was not enough to keep up with his monthly payments towards his $80,000 student loan and caused him to go into forbearance for 5 years – was far from unusual. Ultimately, he ended up with a total loan amount of $100,000, sometimes making him regret getting an education in the first place.
All over the country, there are similar stories since so many students seeking a higher education cannot afford it without taking out either federal and/or private student loans. According to the Project on Student Debt, the average debs of students graduating with loans rose from $18,796 in 2006 to $20,098 in 2007. FinAid.org reports that in 2008 there were nearly $131 billion in outstanding private loans and $544 billion in outstanding federal loans.
Students Look for Help
This growing Facebook group is looking for help with their overwhelming monthly payments, restrictive repayment plans and that they may eventually have their loan forgiven.
Promising Plans for Federal Loan Borrowers
Some plans are being established for federal loan borrowers including the Income-Based Repayment Plan and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Plan. Both plans promise to make adjustments on monthly payments based on the borrowers income and loan forgiveness after an allotted period of time. Other plans include the Income-Contingent Repayment Plan for Direct Loan holders and Income-Sensitive Repayment Plan for FFEL Loan holders, also impacting the monthly payments and ultimate forgiveness of the loans.
Room for Growth for Private Loan Legislation Change
Private loan borrowers have less promising chances for student loan forgiveness, but there are those that are fighting for changes to legislation preventing private student loans from being forgiven as bankruptcy cases.
With the economy in the trouble it is in, and the student loan laws overwhelming so many Americans, there is no better time than the present to join forces and call for change. And Facebook is an excellent place to rally the groups.
Sources: ”Asking for Student Loan Forgiveness”, BusinessWeek.com, ”Difficulty Repaying”, Student Aid on the Web, Project on Student Debt