‘I really felt he was going to help’: Woman buried in student debt feels Biden ‘betrayed’ her, leaves Dem Party

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A number of voters have had ‘buyer’s remorse’ regarding President Joe Biden and for a variety of reasons. For one ex-Democrat, that reason is student debt.

For over forty years Melissa Andretta, 53, has been a Democrat. Andretta was one of the overwhelming numbers of Democrats who supported Biden in the 2020 election. However, that loyalty has finally wavered due to what she feels is a lack of action on campaign promises to cancel student debt.

Andretta has over $163,000 in accumulated student debt and expressed concerns to Business Insider’s Ayelet Sheffey that debt repayments could start as soon as next year. Contrary to what she felt led to believe, not a penny of that debt has vanished, and now she feels “betrayed.”

“I’ve been registered as a Democrat since I was of voting age. But throughout this last year, I was an independent instead because I’m just so frustrated and disheartened. One of the main reasons why I was so in favor of Biden was because I really felt that he was going to help us with the student-loan problem,” said Andretta.

The source of all that debt is Andretta’s pursuit of a Ph.D. from Columbia University’s Teacher’s College in 1999. Back surgery prevented her from finishing that program due to interfering with her ability to commute back and forth from Manhattan. While Andretta wanted to go back and finish her Ph.D. after recovering from the surgery, she found “the thought of taking out more loans was just too prohibitive.”

While Andretta has gone on to make six figures, the majority of that income going towards servicing her student debt, prior to the halt in student-loan payments imposed during the Covid-19 pandemic. Andretta said she hasn’t been able to put more than “the tiniest amount” into her savings as a result of debt payments and has concerns about whether or not she’ll “ever be able to retire.”

The result of all this has been a disillusionment with the Democratic promises of debt cancellation. Biden campaigned on a generous student loan forgiveness program, and on $10,000 in immediate debt cancellation. While the Department of Education has announced some changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which forgives debts for publicly employed individuals, including teachers, the approval rate for such forgiveness currently stands at roughly 2%.

There has been $11.5 billion worth of student debt forgiveness by Biden for certain groups, such as those who had been victims of fraud by for-profit schools that failed to deliver on education promises. However, there doesn’t appear to be any word on further debt cancellation, and the silence has disappointed those who hoped that his election would clear their debt burden entirely.

“He promised when he was actually running, on his campaign trail, that he would wipe out $10,000 worth of student-loan debt for every individual that has student loans. That has yet to come to fruition, so I am waiting for that to happen,” Amikka Burl, an Independent, recently told CNN.

As for Andretta, she feels her time with the Democrats may have run its course due to the debt issue:

“I always felt like the Democrats were supposed to be the party of the people, and I could never see myself moving anywhere else but the party of the people,” she said. “But I’m one of those people, and I don’t feel like they represent me at this point in time. So I really have to reconsider what my options are.”


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