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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Hey, hey, we won't pay: 40% of student debtors aren't paying

More than 22 million former college students were supposed start repaying their loans on Oct. 1 when the three-year-long pandemic pause ended, but 40 percent have yet to make a payment.

“This is, in essence, a massive student debt strike," Astra Taylor, co-founder of the Debt Collective, told CNBC"s Annie Novie. “Faced with the impossible choice of feeding their kids, keeping a roof over their head or throwing an average of $400 a month into the Department of Education incinerator, borrowers are rightly choosing to keep themselves and their families financially afloat,” she said.

"Outstanding student loan debt in the U.S. now exceeds $1.7 trillion," writes Nova.

Still, the average loan balance at graduation is $30,000, which doesn't seem impossibly high. Only 7 percent of borrowers owe more than $100,000, typically for master's and professional degrees that should -- in theory -- raise their earnings.

If college pays, why can't college-goers pay their debts?

Some borrowers say it's hard to get correct information about what they owe and their repayment options. It's chaos, said Carolina Rodriguez, director of the Education Debt Consumer Assistance Program, a nonprofit in New York.

"Meanwhile, others may be taking advantage of the Biden administration’s 12-month “on-ramp” to repayment, during which they’re shielded from the worst consequences of falling behind," writes Nova.

I'm sure some are waiting for their debt to be erased. President Biden's $400 billion plan was rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, but he's gone ahead with billions of dollars in targeted debt relief, reports Haisten Willis in the Washington Examiner. "The president has teased more cancellations next year, with Biden's Education Department announcing the week that loan repayments began after a 3 1/2-year pause that it would consider adding regulations under which more loans could be forgiven."

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