We wanted to be the group that breaks generational poverty, said Joy Evans, mother of a Paul Quinn College graduate, referring to her family’s three generations of college loan borrowing.
Hoping the kids will help
Parent PLUS Loans often take five to 20 years to repay because many of the borrowers are approaching retirement age, leaving less opportunity for promotions or time for them to accumulate enough money.
As a result, some parents said they hope their children will help pay off the PLUS Loans after they graduate. For instance, one father took out Parent PLUS Loans for his youngest daughter to attend Coppin State University in Baltimore.
I’m concerned and a little worried about the debt, said Perry Collins. But it is our hope that (our children) will get to the point where they can provide for themselves.
Collins said his debt is accumulating quickly between a mortgage and his children’s student loans. He hopes his children will help pay off the debt.
Families that attend HBCUs are a prime example of the program’s consequences, Collins said, because it’s the less privileged and less wealthy that are sending their children out to these things and that’s their only means in most cases.
Parent PLUS Loans may add another struggle: instant repayment. Unlike federal student loans, parent borrowers are expected to immediately begin repaying the loan. Depending on how much they owe, the amount could take decades to pay back, furthering the chance of debt overlapping across generations.
Morehouse mother Vanessa Manley predicted it will take her and her husband 15 to 20 years to pay back their $30,000 in Parent PLUS Loans, but the loans were worth the investment.
Some parents invest payday loans Mucie IN in material things. I invest in my child, Manley said. Her son started at Morehouse in fall 2019.
For many parents, the value of sending their child to an HBCU is worth any cost. They see these institutions as pathways to success.
Roderick Hester just dropped off his third daughter at Spelman College. He took out Parent PLUS Loans for each of them. If this will give my child the best opportunity to be successful in life, he said, This was the avenue I had to pursue. There wasn’t a lot of options.
Roderick Hester took out loans for his three daughters, all of whom attended Spelman College. (Photo: Ebony JJ Curry, Medill News Service )
I don’t really know how I’m going to pay it back, but I’m planning on it, Hester said. Whatever I need to do is what I have to do.
A billionaire paying off parents’ loans
In order to pay for her son’s first two years at Morehouse, Carmelita Farrah borrowed $70,000 in Parent PLUS Loans. The idea that he would experience his heritage at Morehouse trumped her financial strain.
Morehouse mom Carmelita Farrah outside of Martin Luther King Jr. International Chapel at Morehouse College. (Photo: Josephine Chu, Medill News Service )
The obstacles are stacked against him as a black man, so what will set them apart? she said. Hopefully an education. After that, a career. Because it’s a struggle. It really is.
At Morehouse’s graduation ceremony last May, billionaire Morehouse alum Robert Smith brought national attention to the student loan problem at HBCUs when he made a surprise announcement at graduation: He said he would pay off every 2019 graduate’s student loans. Morehouse later said that gift would include Parent PLUS Loans.
Graduates react after hearing billionaire technology investor and philanthropist Robert F. Smith say he will provide grants to wipe out the student debt of their entire graduating class at Morehouse College in Atlanta on Sunday. (Photo: Steve Schaefer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)