When you’re fighting a serious illness like breast cancer, the last thing you should worry about is how to pay back your student loans. But for many people, including me, that’s the harsh reality. This article talks about the struggle of managing student loan debt while dealing with health crises and why we need laws like the Student Loan Interest Elimination Act (SLIEA) to make things better.
The Double Whammy: Cancer and Student Loans
Imagine you’re dealing with breast cancer and you also owe over $200,000 in student loans. Sounds overwhelming, right? Well, that’s my story. And as if cancer wasn’t tough enough, I got it again during the COVID-19 pandemic. At one point, I even caught COVID while undergoing chemotherapy. My health was so bad that I had to rush to the emergency room.
The Monthly Dilemma: Health or Loans?
Despite all this, every month I found myself stressing over how to pay back my student loans. In 2021, I decided to use my disability payments to tackle my loans. By the end of the payment pause, I paid off 8 of my 13 loans, totaling about $37,000. But here’s the kicker: only $10,000 went toward the actual loan amount. The rest, a whopping $27,000, went to interest.
A Ray of Hope: The Student Loan Interest Elimination Act
This is where the Student Loan Interest Elimination Act comes in. Pushed by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) for nearly a decade, this bill could be a game-changer. It would let current borrowers refinance their loans at zero percent interest. Future borrowers, especially those from minority backgrounds who are more likely to take out loans, would see their interest rates capped at 4%.
Right now, the bill is backed only by Democrats. But it needs support from both sides of the aisle to become law. The good news is that it addresses concerns from Republicans too. It’s not about canceling debt but making it easier for people to pay back what they owe.
Why We Need to Act Now
As of October 2023, I’m officially cancer-free. But my student loan debt is still a massive $169,000. We need to push for laws like SLIEA to make sure others don’t have to go through the same struggle.
What You Can Do
If you think this is important, reach out to your Congressperson. Share this article and ask them to support the Student Loan Interest Elimination Act. We need to spread the word and get this bill passed.
By supporting SLIEA, we can make it easier for people to focus on what really matters—like fighting cancer—without the added stress of crippling student loan debt. Let’s make a change today.