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Millions over age 60 paying off student loans, hoping Congress will pass solution

Posted at 3:15 PM, Jun 17, 2019

It's a growing problem for people nationwide: rising student loan debt. Now, members of Congress are expected to take action.

Lawmakers are introducing legislation to eliminate that debt for millions of Americans.

That decision would greatly impact people like Cheryl Medina. At the age of 63, Medina wants to focus on planning for her retirement. Instead, she worries about paying her bills, especially her student loans, which she says have gotten bigger despite her paying $200 a month.

“It's $27,000. That is actually higher than I remember it ever being, so I think I’m paying interest only,” she says.

After getting divorced 20 years ago, Medina went back to school, hoping a college degree would improve her job prospects. Now, she thinks she'll have to delay her retirement and work longer because of this debt, which at this point, Medina admits, she'll probably take to the grave with her.

“To be able to afford the payments, it's not going to be paid off when I pass away,” she says.

While most people think student loan debt is a young person's problem, more than 3 million people over 60 are paying off college loans.

In the coming weeks, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Representative James Clyburn will introduce legislation to eliminate up to $50,000 in student loan debt for 42 million Americans. They claim this will provide relief to 95 percent of borrowers and would wipe out debt entirely for 75 percent of borrowers.

“It's virtually impossible for a young person to find a high-quality education as an affordable price,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) says. “We're crushing an entire generation with student loan debt.”

Warren says the proposed plan would be paid for by a 2-percent yearly tax on the richest 75,000 families in the country, who have at least $50 million in net worth.