Loan repayment pause extended through August

Anya Kelley, Staff Writer

Americans owe more than $1.6 trillion in student loan debt and the average student borrower takes 20 years to pay off their student loan debt, according to Add in the economic instability caused by the pandemic and one can see why UW Oshkosh students are happy that the Biden-Harris Administration decided to extend the student loan repayment pause through Aug. 31.

With this being the sixth extension since March 2020, the pause will add additional time for loan payers to achieve economic good standing. Borrowers will all receive fresh starts on repayment, thus eliminating the impact of delinquency.
Olivia Wingender, a freshman communications major living on campus, said the pandemic didn’t affect her financial situation much.

“I have consistently worked throughout the pandemic because neither of the jobs I have had these past two years have shut down due to the lockdown,” she said. “My parents have also been able to still work throughout the pandemic because their jobs allowed them to work from home.”

In fact, Wingender said the pandemic slightly bettered her family’s financial situation because they didn’t have to spend as much money on gas and other things that they would normally grab from the store. “Since they weren’t leaving the house as much, they didn’t have opportunities to grab unnecessary things at the store,” she said.

Wingender told The Advance-Titan she was lucky enough to not need to take out a loan for this school year; however, she may need to in the future and she said she thinks the loan pause will help her family.

“I have been fortunate to receive some scholarships and funding from my grandparents that will hopefully cover most of my schooling, but if/when I do end up taking out loans, I think the extended time for me to pay it off will be super helpful,” Wingender said.

Freshman Ethan Woolf said he has been affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I was out of work for almost half a year due to the pandemic and I definitely lost some money because of that,” he said. “My family also lost some money since there was less work available.”

Woolf told The Advance-Titan that his mother, stepmother and father had taken out loans when they attended college.

“My step mom just got done paying hers back,” he said. “My dad had student loans as well and has mentioned how hard it was to pay them back. My mom is still paying back her loans.”

Woolf said he did not need to take out loans for his first year of studies; however, he will for the rest of his college career.

“When I do get student loans, I know I’m going to be very stressed about paying them back, especially because I’ll be stacking up these loans while I don’t even have a consistent job yet,” Woolf said. “I feel the idea behind the loan pause is good. Giving everyone a break after the pandemic and letting people’s financial standings recover should help out a lot of people who are having a tough time.”

Woolf said that his mother attended graduate school at UWO and hopes that this loan pause will take some stress off her and maybe help her finish off the remaining payments.
“Since my mom is still paying hers back, the loan pause should really help her out,” Woolf said “I hope that the government will do a loan pause in the future if the economy crashes or the coronavirus starts spreading too much again.”

The Biden-Harris administration has stated that they will continue assessing the financial impact of the pandemic on loan payers to ensure smooth transition back into repayment.

According to the UWO Financial Aid Office, the official Stafford Loan default rate for UWO is 6.8%. The national average is 9.7%. On average, 64% of UWO students borrow funds through the federal Stafford Loan program.