School loan

Mom with $187,000 student debt wants Biden to consider parental help

  • The debt cancellation plan announced by Biden is unlikely to include parents who have taken out loans for their children.
  • Adria Mansfield, 43, has $187,000 in parent PLUS student loans she took out for her children’s college.
  • It was the only way for her to give her children a higher education, and she cannot afford to pay.

Adria Mansfield will do everything in her power to give her children the best future, even if it means six-figure student debt.

The problem for her is President Joe Biden’s sweeping student loan forgiveness plans and the fact that parents have not been included in this conversation.

“Half of our kids couldn’t go to school and succeed if it wasn’t for the parents,” said Mansfield, 43. “And I don’t think it’s fair that we’re overlooked.”

Mansfield’s $187,300 student debt stems from parent PLUS loans she took out for two of her children, which allowed her to borrow the full cost of attendance minus any financial aid the child already has. received. About 3.7 million families hold parent PLUS loans totaling $104 billion. These types of federal loans have the highest interest rate at 6.28%, and they are expected to increase to 7.54% in July.

Adria Mansfield

Adrian Mansfield.

Adria Mansfield

Working at a school as a behavior facilitator and being the sole provider for her children, Mansfield did not earn enough to pay for tuition at a public university and a private university for her children. She has taken out the maximum amount of PLUS loans for two of her children and plans to do the same for her daughter who is graduating from high school this year. She says it was the only way she could ensure her children would get a higher education.

While Biden is considering a $10,000 student loan forgiveness for undergraduate borrowers earning less than $150,000, parents and graduate students have not been included in those plans, and Mansfield said she is considering payments for the foreseeable future without relief options.

“Society puts so much pressure on our kids to need to go to college because you have to get a degree to get a better job, so I thought that was important because it is what my kids wanted to do,” Mansfield said. “But now we are being punished for taking out loans so that our children could succeed.”

“Feeding my children and providing for us is my first choice”

After her children graduated from college in 2017 and 2019, Mansfield was placed on an income-based repayment plan that allowed her to temporarily make $0 monthly payments due to her low income. Although she said it was helpful not to have to make these payments, the interest continued to mount, making it almost impossible for her to move forward on her debt – and she said that element had her “extremely affected”.

“I had this debt on my credit, and it was preventing me from getting a house because my student loan amount was so high that lenders wouldn’t even lend me money to buy a house,” Mansfield said. “And I certainly don’t make enough money to repay the loan, and feeding my children and taking care of our needs is my first choice.”

Mansfield is not alone in her struggles – many other parents have taken out student loans in their own names to support their children, and they are having to pay off mounting debt due to rising interest. A recent report by The Century Foundation, a left-wing think tank, said the average PLUS loan borrower still has 55% of the original balance remaining after 10 years of repayment – ​​and 38% after 20 years, which means that most parents spend more time paying off their student loans than raising their children.

Kristin Blagg, a researcher at the Urban Institute, previously told Insider that the idea of ​​giving a student loans is that they make enough money with a degree to pay off the debt, but that’s not the case for parents.

“The calculations for parents, especially if they’re really unable to afford tuition and other costs by the time their child goes to school, those calculations don’t quite work because parents don’t get necessarily this advantage of a college education,” Blagg said.

“We must be taken into account in the loan forgiveness”

Biden has yet to confirm the amount of student loan relief he is considering, and the only definitive statement he has made on the matter so far is that $50,000 in relief — a amount progressives were asking for – is irrelevant. But the relief is likely to focus on undergraduates, leaving those with PLUS loans in the dark.

Peter Granville, senior policy associate at the Century Foundation, recently told Politico that the reason parents weren’t included in the loan forgiveness conversation might be because when it comes to parent loans MORE “there is very little data on these parents themselves”. and there is “much less knowledge about the actual parents and their performance when it comes to taking out these loans”.

Either way, Mansfield hopes Biden’s decision won’t exclude borrowers who did what they needed to do to help their children succeed.

“I just want us parents who put our names on the dotted line so that our children can be successful, to be recognized that we too are struggling,” Mansfield said. “We took out loans for our children to succeed. We must also be taken into account in the cancellation of the loan.”

Do you have a story to share on student debt? Contact Ayelet Sheffey at [email protected]