Anxiety Spreads Among Borrowers After Supreme Court Loan Repayment Decision

By Afifa Chaudry and Dr. Benjamin M. Drury

DATA SUGGESTS STUDENT LOAN STRESS MORE EXTREME THAN YOU THOUGHT

Addressing the issue of student debt is the issue of our generation. Trillions of dollars in broken promises of hopes and dreams associated with the completion of a degree in higher education were just shifted back to the shoulders of the borrowers away from the deep pockets of the United States government. The Biden administration has taken steps towards providing relief. The White House has gone to extreme lengths to inform the American people about the potential benefits for their community, but still resistance remains. In fact, the Biden Administration released a breakdown, by state, of the borrowers who will benefit from Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, which has the potential to eliminate student debt for approximately 20 million borrowers. The plan prioritizes relief for Americans earning less than $75,000 per year, with around 90 percent of the expected relief targeted towards this income bracket. Last August, the administration announced forgiveness plans for federal borrowers, including up to $10,000 for individuals earning less than $125,000 and up to $20,000 for those who meet the income criteria and received a Pell Grant during college. These measures aimed to alleviate the burden for borrowers with various income levels and provide targeted assistance to those in greater need. This last week, all that work was squashed by a 6–3 vote ruling it is unconstitutional to forgive student loan debt.

Our Supreme Court ruling on student loan debt may have legal implications, but it fails to address the underlying issue of the devastating impact debt repayment has on the mental health of borrowers. While the ruling may provide temporary relief for some borrowers, it does little to alleviate the long-term consequences of exorbitant student debt. Student loan debt has reached unprecedented levels, and it is no secret that it takes a significant toll on the mental well-being of borrowers. Borrowers are reporting higher than normal experiences of stress and anxiety related to the recent ruling. A survey conducted in 2021 found mental health challenges are faced by over half of student borrowers. Data like this should serve as a wake-up call to policymakers and our society more broadly. Yet, the Supreme Court ruling does…

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