Some student loan borrowers are boycotting repayment in protest

(NewsNation) — Millions of student loan borrowers still haven’t made a payment after a three-year pandemic pause ended in October, and some say they are refusing to do so out of protest.

Roughly one in 10 borrowers who haven’t resumed payments admit they’re intentionally “boycotting” repayment to pressure the government to cancel federal student loan debt, according to a recent Intelligent.com survey.

Of the 1,000 federal student loan borrowers polled, 25% said they had not made any monthly payments since October, and 35% said they had made “some.”

Among those who are boycotting, 44% think their protest will lead to the cancellation of some federal student loan debt, and 28% think it’s “likely” the boycott will convince the government to cancel all student loan debt, the survey found.

“It’s pie-in-the-sky for those borrowers who are thinking that $10,000 is going to happen for some 43 million people,” Ted Jenkin, CEO of oXYGen Financial, told “NewsNation Now” Thursday.

Instead, Jenkin said borrowers should utilize the Biden administration’s SAVE programan income-driven repayment plan that allows for lower monthly payments.

Last month, data from the U.S. Department of Education showed nearly nine million people, about 40% of borrowers, missed their first payment after the restart.

For now, borrowers are protected from serious penalties thanks to the Biden administration’s 12-month on-ramp period, which lasts through Sept. 30, 2024. That policy ensures missed payments aren’t reported as delinquent and shields borrowers from consequences like defaulting or mandatory collections.

However, student loan payments are still due, and interest will continue to accrue, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Of those who haven’t resumed payments, 18% said they intend to wait until Sept. 30, and 11% have no intention of ever paying, the Intelligent.com survey found.

Most borrowers who have fallen behind, 69%, said it’s because they can’t afford to pay. The majority of people who have resumed payments, 94%, told Intelligent.com it’s been financially challenging.

The total outstanding federal student loan debt now stands at over $1.7 trillion.

Earlier this month, President Biden announced that some student loan borrowers would have their remaining debt canceled in February. That will apply to those who took out less than $12,000 in student loans and have been paying on them for 10 years.

By Jothi Prakash

Jothi Prakash is a seasoned journalist with a passion for uncovering stories that resonate with readers worldwide. With a keen eye for detail and a commitment to journalistic integrity, Ganesan has contributed to the media landscape for over a decade, covering a diverse range of topics including politics, technology, culture, and human interest stories.