While loan forgiveness kicks in 25 years after graduation, Boston University alumnus Adam Minsky said a bill proposing to free students from debt within 10 years would provide a huge relief for graduates.
“This makes it affordable to have a high student loan debt on a modest income,” said Adam Minsky, an attorney who specializes in student loan law. “There is a big difference between paying for 10 years and paying for 25.”
If passed, the Student Loan Forgiveness Act in Congress would forgive federal and private student loan debt for those who paid 10 percent of their income toward loans for 10 years.
Teachers, some doctors, public service workers and those working for nonprofit organizations could have their loan debt forgiven after five years.
“The fact is that we hit a trillion dollars in student loan debt, more than credit card debt and auto debt,” Minsky said. “The earlier [people] can get rid of this debt, the sooner they can start living their lives again.”
BU students who borrow average about $36,000 in debt, said BU spokesman Colin Riley.
“We are very generous with our financial assistance,” Riley said. “Other schools in the area have some of the highest net price calculations.”
Minsky said the most significant improvement the bill proposes is loan forgiveness for private loans.
“The problem right now is that none of the existing programs are available for private student loans,” he said. “Private student loans are very inflexible, but [the] bill will consolidate private and federal student loans to make them both more manageable.”
School of Education sophomore Haley Jensen said if the bill passes it would serve as a great initiative to expand the education field if teachers know their debt will be paid off.
“BU has a great education program, but people tend to choose cheaper schools since they won’t be paid very much after college,” Jensen said. “They don’t want to take out loans they cannot pay back.”
The threat of student loans should not stop students from going to the best colleges and universities they can, said Sammi Saunders, a Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences freshman.
“If you have the ability to go to a good school, you shouldn’t have to pass it up because you can’t afford it or won’t be able to pay back student loans,” Saunders said. “You only go to college once.”
College of Communication graduate student Don Fisco said loan debt is a good enough reason to get a practical job instead of spending money on a four-year education.
“Student loans create mountains of debt and is basically another reason to go to trade school,” Fisco said.
Despite the potential benefits of the bill, Minsky said he is uncertain if it will pass in the near future because it stands as a Democratic proposal in a Republican House.
“I like the bill, but don’t get your hopes up,” he said. “The easiest counter argument is that you’re giving students a free pass, and it is unfair to people who already have student loans.”