Now, how easy was it to get that break?
In terms of initially, when did the lenders release this information? Some lenders weren’t immediately on board. It was so strange. We had to ask customers to go online or call them, and then some lenders did it automatically. I will say that at this point everyone who is probably eligible gets it. Now here’s the kicker: initially some loans weren’t included, but as we got the break extended, we’ve seen more loans included now inside the pandemic break. If you’re listening, if you have a federal loan and aren’t sure if your loans qualify, log on and check your lender’s website or go to studentloans.gov to see if you can obtain an administrative forbearance. And if you don’t, I’ll give your lender a call. It may even be able to be applied back as well.
It freed up some money and gave you an idea of what it would be like to live without that debt. What do people do with the money?
You know, student loan debt isn’t one of those things that I feel like people will happily pay off every month. They pay out of obligation, don’t they? So what that has done I feel like a lot of people have allowed them to improve their credit because now they can take that extra money and pay other bills that might have been overdue or cards of credit that have been loaded. I have heard many of these success stories happen.
Now the Biden administration has promised student loan forgiveness. Do you believe that will happen? Where is it now?
I want to be so positive, Cherri, but I want my vote back. You know, the administration really surfed the student loan debt, and nothing materialized. I’m really upset, to be completely honest. It doesn’t look too good.
Yeah, a lot of people bit that carrot for sure. You’re a black woman-owned business and there’s a huge racial disparity when it comes to student loans. Could you talk about that and then talk about your own personal story?
So, you know, on average, African American women are disproportionately affected by student loan debt. And, on average, African-American women also have the most college degrees in our country. But these degrees have a really cute price. And so what’s happening is we’re seeing our African American women showing up to work with more debt than their counterparts. And so, the same salary that you as African American women can receive will be different from that of your counterpart. What I say to that is [it’s] to be celebrated, it’s exciting that they have degrees, and you know they want more for their lives in the future. But also now, as black women, we really can’t ignore student loan debt, because it affects and shows up when we want to invest, when we want to build long-term wealth. So now I feel like I’m being pressured into my community to say, “Yeah, I know you got a $400 payout or $500 payout, or an $800 payout, or a 1 $000. Let’s see how to approach this payment, but let’s not stop there. Because you are “behind the eight ball”. Maybe you don’t put a lot in your [401(k)]. Here’s what you need to do. You have to do X, Y, and Z to get caught up with your counterparts so your kids don’t have to know the words “student loan debt.”