😰 Is student loan forgiveness doomed?
Plus: A cold snap back to reality.
It's Monday, Boston.
🥒 It’s also National Pickle Day, which means you can finally try J.P. Licks’ and Grillo’s Pickles’ chaotic collab: pickle ice cream. The flavor you never asked for.
👀 What’s on tap today:
- A cold snap back to reality
- The rats *might* run this city
- Choo-Choo chairs
Student loan limbo worsens
“I knew this was too good to be true.” That’s what 29-year-old Mahlet Meshesha said when she learned President Biden’s student debt relief program had been blocked for a second time by a federal court last Thursday.
The Dorchester resident said she has $130,000 in federal loans and was eligible to have $20,000 of it wiped out under Biden’s plan. “I was definitely banking on that money,” she said.
Meshesha is one of millions of Americans now stuck in student debt relief limbo as the Biden administration has stopped accepting applications after a second federal court shut down the program. About 26 million people have applied, and 16 million have been approved.
“Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program,” the federal student aid website says. “As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders.”
Meshesha originally didn’t believe Biden when he made a campaign promise to cancel some student loan debt. So she was surprised when he announced his administration would cancel up to $20,000 per eligible individual.
“Is that making just a dent [in my loans]? Yes. But if that goes straight to my principal, it’ll help reduce my interest rate,” she said. Once the application went live, she was one of the first to apply.
But now that Biden’s plan seems to be unraveling, her skepticism is coming back. “‘Conspiracy me’ thinks this was inevitable and this is the Democrats’ way of saying ‘well, we tried’ without really doing anything,” she said. “I’m not surprised.”
As a child of Ethiopian immigrants, “I was always taught that education is your way out and your ticket to upward mobility. And that’s just not the case anymore,” she said.
As the court challenges play out, federal student loan payments are set to resume Jan. 1.
Quick & Dirty Headlines
🥶 November weather has entered the chat. Don’t expect to see temps above 48 degrees this week — a chilly snap back to reality after several, glorious 70-degree weekends. This sharp dip in temperature can be seen across the continental U.S. this week, according to the National Weather Service, with high temperatures being 10 to 20 degrees below the norm. Well, it was nice while it lasted.
🛍️ Mass. retailers are predicting a 10% spike in local holiday shopping sales this year. However, with inflation hanging around 8%, that leaves little room for profit, according to Jon Hurst, president of the Retailers Association of Massachusetts. This year, he’s asking “Massachusetts' holiday shoppers to remember that how they invest their dollars makes a big difference in the local economy," and encouraging them to devote a chunk of their holiday spending locally.
🐀 The rats don’t run this city … okay maybe they do. Boston clocked in at No. 13 on Orkin’s list of rattiest cities in the U.S. with fellow New England cities like Hartford, Portland, and Burlington also making an appearance. The pest control company based the ranking on the number of residential and commercial rodent treatments they performed in each city between September 1, 2021, to August 31, 2022. Maybe skip this fun fact at Thanksgiving this year.
THINGS TO DO
Get out of the house
💘 Brush up on your flirting skills at Trident Booksellers and Cafe’s monogamous speed dating event for folks in their 20s and 30s. | Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7 to 9 p.m. | 338 Newbury St., Boston
🧘 Finally try meditating at the Cambridge Insight Meditation Center’s beginners drop-in program. You can do it virtually, too. | Tuesday, Nov. 15, 6 to 7 p.m. | 331 Broadway, Cambridge
❓ Play ‘Friends’ Trivia at Broken Records Beer hall. It may not be Central Perk, but they can make a mean cocktail. | Thursday, Nov. 17. Registration starts at 6 p.m. | 85 Guest St., Boston
🎙️ Ask Mayor Wu your burning questions during a live taping of Boston Public Radio in the GBH Studio at the Boston Public Library. | Friday, Nov. 18, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. | 700 Boylston St., Boston
🥌 Learn to curl at The Snowport. The North End Curling club will teach you the basics and then you can put your skills to the test on the Snowport's iceless curling lanes. | Saturday, Nov. 19, 2 to 4 p.m.
ONE LAST THING
Find yourself missing the fugly (yet iconic) patterned fabric seats of the MBTA? If so, the MIT Hobby Shop has salvaged seven old Red Line seats and turned them into actual chairs you could hypothetically put around your dining room table. They’re calling them “Choo-Choo Chairs.”
Want one for yourself? Associate instructor of the Hobby Shop Coby Unger hopes to make more and potentially auction them off for charity. Would low key consider buying one of these.
🥴 Thanks for reading! I gave Mastodon a try now that Twitter is collapsing by the second and hated everything about it. Let’s just corrupt LinkedIn instead.
💃 For more hot takes and late night thoughts, follow me on Twitter and IG @emilyschario. Send comments and suggestions to [email protected]