PALM BEACH, Fla. — People paying back federal student loans are set to get a few extra months of relief.
The president’s announcement to extend the federal student loan moratorium from May to the end of August is welcome news for Christine Sylvain.
“No one wants to start out in life with a huge amount of debt,” she said.
Sylvain is the executive director of Path to College.
The nonprofit organization's mission is to secure the acceptance of low-income, high-achieving students into top-tier universities.
The program connects students with scholarship and grant opportunities, so they can graduate from college debt-free.
“A lot of people with student loans have seen them balloon with interest rates or they had to put them in deferment and forbearance and whatnot,” said Sylvain.
Even though scholarships propelled Sylvain through her undergraduate career, financing the last year of her master’s program at NYU was met with challenges.
“That loan was about $55,000 and after I graduated, I had my baby in my arms and six months later, I get my first bill and it was $700,” she said.
It’s been 12 years since Sylvain graduated from NYU and she’s still paying off one year’s worth of student loans.
“Now the loan is at $100,000 and I've been paying it regularly for about six years,” Sylvain said.
President Joe Biden says the four-month delay will help millions of borrowers bounce back from the pandemic.
Balances on student loans have been effectively frozen for more than two years now, with no payments required.
“They're not letting the loan interest accrue, so I think that was a necessary step,” said Tammy Trenta, Founder and CEO of Family Financial.
Some financial advisors are wary that the extension foreshadows potential plans that President Biden may have to cancel some student loan debt altogether.
“In my opinion, it's a way for Biden to kick the can down the road another six months,” said Trenta. “It's more of a bandaid. It doesn't really solve the issue.”
This story was first reported by Linnie Supall at WPTV in West Palm Beach, Fla.