Georgia college grads stress ahead of student debt payments resuming

The burden of student loans is approaching once again.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 10:52 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 11:32 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - The burden of student loans is approaching once again.

The Biden administration announced the pause on payments will end before the end of August.

A new study by the Student Borrower Protection Center shows there are 1,691,800 federal student loan borrowers in Georgia, and students of color specifically Black and Latino students in metro Atlanta are impacted more than their white counterparts.

The study shows that between 2010 and when the student loan payment pause was implemented in 2020, black neighborhoods in Atlanta had higher average student loan balances than predominantly white areas.

Atlanta News First spoke to local former students with thousands of dollars in student loan debt about what the end of paused payments on their student loans will mean for them.

“I need to hurry up and get a second job,” former Georgia State University student and full time mom, Tara Beans, said she’s not ready for the stress of her student debt to return.

“The cost of living has gone up but pay has not gone up, so an extra $250 a month in my pocket definitely helped with small bills, household expenses, and food,” Beans said.

By the end of August she’s going to have to start putting that $250 back towards her student loans.

The Biden administration was helping students like Beans when they issued a pause on student loan payments in 2020, but payments are set to resume and students like Beans are scrambling.

“It’s so disheartening when you’re paying on time every month and you still see a lot on the bill. It feels like you can never ever, pay it down,” Former Georgia State University student and Research Director for the New Georgia Project Non-profit, Ranada Robinson said.

Last September Robinson and the New Georgia Project conducted a poll of over 1200 black Georgia voters to better understand how student debt is impacting them.

“What we saw was that 88% of them wanted the federal government to eliminate debt at some level,” Robinson said.

The Georgia State grad still has $80,000 in student debt herself.

Robinson and the New Georgia Project Non-profit are advocating for the elimination of student debt for Georgia borrowers who make less than $120,000.

“Folks whose student loan debt is currently a huge percentage of their budget, it really would make a difference,” Robinson said.