Tabetha DeGroot — Staff writer
The pause on student loans continues under the Biden Administration. The halt on interest and payments, which has reached three years, will be extended until June 2023. At the beginning of January, the Supreme Court rejected Biden’s one-time student loan forgiveness plan. His response was to continue the pause, which some speculate could be indefinite.
If Biden’s plan were passed, millions of borrowers could reportedly receive up to $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness.
According to Forbes Magazine, “The Education Department had estimated that up to 40 million borrowers could qualify for relief, with close to half getting their federal student loan balances completely wiped out.”
The plan has been blocked due to financial concerns for certain states and to legal issues surrounding the way the Biden administration went about proposing it.
While zero student loans seems like a very distant possibility in America, it is the reality of other countries. In Denmark, students get paid to go to school. Denmark native Fredrick Jenson does not have any financial worries about his education.
“We get paid to study,” he said, “It costs nothing at all. We do have a limit, but it is 900-800 euros a month to study.”
It takes three and a half years to get a bachelor’s degree, and students are faced with a lot of decisions when they get to secondary education. They pick a track to follow when they are around 12 years old and usually focus on that area of study through university.
“I think it’s a good education system,” said Jenson. “I know that I have some economic stability. Being able to study and not have to worry about your income is very good, you don’t have to worry about getting a job or a mountain of debt when you get done.”
However, the money does have to come from somewhere.
“We pay a lot of taxes” said Jenson, “When I was working, I paid around 38 percent in taxes, so we do pay it back, you don’t just get money. I still prefer that because I know I have some stability.”
Like everywhere else, Denmark has experienced some economic recession which affects education costs.
“Before the recession, aid did still reflect o n your earnings after taxes so you could still afford housing and food on a low-paying job,” Jenson. Now, however, aid is calculated before taxes, and things are less affordable.
On the island of Malta, it is a similar story. A test taken in secondary school determines what kind of school you can go to for post-secondary education. Bachelor’s degrees are completed in three years, and masters after five.
“If you go to a private school you have to pay, but other than that it is free,” said Tamra Freni, a Malta resident.
An initial grant for books and computers of €300 is given in high school and university. After that, students receive around €180 monthly from the government.
“I believe the idea behind it is that education continues,” said Freni, “That you don’t stop your education because you have to work.”
Freni said she still has a job to cover needs like food and housing, but she can focus on school and save up for the future, as she will also have high taxes to pay.
“In Malta we study a lot and gain a lot of information about practical things,” she said. “At the same time I’m not sure if it’s a positive thing because we learn so much at once and they expect a lot from us.”
“The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to fighting to deliver essential student debt relief to tens of millions of Americans,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a statement reported by Forbes. The battle against debt is far from over, and someone will have to pay.