President Joe Biden announced last week that his administration is extending the pause on student loan debt repayments for an additional 90 days until May 1.
The pause came just days before payments on student debt were set to restart after being halted over the pandemic, letting thousands of Michiganders breathe a sigh of relief as COVID continues to make it difficult to make ends meet for so many.
“I personally have $36,000 (in debt), but between my wife and I though we have a combined combined $91,000,” said Mike Langenright.
Langenright and his wife have been living paycheck to paycheck because of student loan debt for more than a decade, spending $500 a month repaying their loans.
“I mean, that’s more expensive than either of our vehicles,” Langenright said. “It’s you know, the only thing that’s more expensive is our mortgage and are big fair.”
The Langenrights aren’t alone. Nearly three out of every five college graduates in the state are saddled with an average debt of nearly $31,000.
When Biden extended the pause just before Christmas, it was a welcome early gift.
“I literally texted my wife immediately and my sister and my best friends and everyone celebrating,” Langenright said.
They celebrated a lifeline for at least the coming months.
“It’s not like I’m like, ‘Oh, now we can go on vacation,’” Langenright said. “It’s like, ‘No, now I can keep my house from falling apart and, you know, support my son and buy diapers and food.”
But the pause is temporary, and Langenright is hoping Biden makes good on his campaign promise to begin forgiving thousands of dollars in debt.
“I think it’s now just again like fingers crossed,” Langenright said. “Keep going further than that. Because our situation you know, the money we make won’t change by May. So it was still we’re just kicking the can down the road.”
According to research from 2019, the college in Michigan where students were left with the most debt was Detroit Mercy, with a debt average of $55,000. The lowest was U-M Dearborn at just over $25,000.