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National leaders debate student loan forgiveness plans

Several plans for student loan relief are floating around Capitol Hill, as leaders on both sides of the aisle agree Americans should receive some form of help

ST. LOUIS — Pre-existing problems are amplified in a crisis. Where education, the economy and a pandemic intersect, sits the student loan debate.

About one in every eight Americans carries student loan debt. In 2020, both presidential candidates and several members of Congress have proposed different forms of student loan relief. While leaders on both sides of the aisle agree there should be some form of student loan relief, they struggle to agree on a plan.

President Donald Trump recently proposed $25 billion for student loan forgiveness in stimulus negotiations but did not say how this program would work. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said Congress would not pass a stimulus package until after the 2020 election.

Former Vice President Joe Biden has suggested a plan which includes $10,000 of relief for borrowers. Recipients would be eligible to receive the amount every year for up to five years in exchange for national or community service.

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A Massachusetts congresswoman has proposed the Student Debt Emergency Relief Act. Individuals could qualify for $30,000 in loan forgiveness. Collection payments would freeze during the pandemic.

Several Democratic members of Congress support amendments to cancel up to $10,000 of debt for private student loans, which target service members and veterans.

Despite so many ideas passing through Capitol Hill, nothing has stuck. With Election Day less than a week away, the 46 million Americans with student loan debt probably won't see any relief until 2021.