Here’s everyone who wants Biden to write off student loan debt (that’s a big list)
Efforts to convince President Biden to cancel student loan debt have only intensified in recent weeks, even as he has publicly expressed some hesitation.
At a town hall event in Milwaukee last week, Biden publicly opposed a push by Congressional Democrats and borrower advocacy organizations to convince him to unilaterally write off $ 50,000 in student loan debt using executive power, bluntly claiming it “couldn’t be done.”
But Biden has not closed the door on the forgiveness of student loans. At the same town hall, the president reiterated his support for the elimination of $ 10,000 in student debt for borrowers. And while he suggested that his objection to a higher amount of student loan forgiveness was due to his fear that the benefits would trickle down to borrowers who attended private colleges like Harvard and Yale (though very few students who attend elite institutions incur substantial student debt), he did not expressly object to a student loan forgiveness amount greater than $ 10,000. Nor has he categorically rejected the idea of using executive power to cancel student debt.
So, with the possibility of a large student debt forgiveness still on the table, supporters are pushing forward their campaign to convince President Biden that blanket student debt forgiveness is the right thing to do.
The cancellation of student debt has become very popular. Here is where it is.
Congressional support to cancel student loan debt
Earlier this month, Congressional Democrats in the House and Senate introduced a resolution calling on Biden to use management action to write off $ 50,000 in federal student loan debt for each borrower. More than 60 legislators co-sponsored the resolution. While some of those cosponsors were expected – like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), a longtime advocate for student loan borrowers – the resolution also has the full support of newly empowered Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ( D-NY), lending powerful credibility of the Democratic establishment to the effort.
“Student loan debt weighs on millions of families in New York City and across the country,” Schumer said. “In a time of overlapping historic crises that disproportionately impact communities of color, we must do everything in our power to bring real relief to the American people, lift our struggling economy, and fill the gap. racial wealth gap. Democrats are determined to take bold and bold action, and this resolution to write off up to $ 50,000 in federal student loans is one of the most important steps the President can take to achieve those goals. “
State aid to cancel student loan debt
Last week, 17 state attorneys general gave their support for the cancellation of student debt. The coalition of attorneys general collectively represents nearly 100 million Americans.
“Because we are responsible for enforcing our consumer protection laws, we are keenly aware of the considerable burden that federal student loan debt imposes on residents of our states,” they wrote in a statement. letter to the leaders of Congress. “Our offices regularly receive complaints from borrowers who are unable to navigate the obscure and opaque repayment or forgiveness plans available under current law.”
They noted that student borrowers were already struggling before the pandemic and recession, and that “many borrowers already owed more than they originally borrowed.” About 20% of federal student loan borrowers are past due or in default.
Organizational support to cancel student loan debt
A diverse coalition of more than 325 organizations – including civil rights groups, consumer rights organizations and labor unions – called on President Biden to cancel student loan debt.
In one letter Urging President Biden to cancel student loan debt through executive action, the coalition argued that “there is growing energy and strong bipartisan public support for immediate large-scale debt cancellation.” Such executive action is one of the few tools available that could immediately boost over 44 million borrowers and the economy. The organizations noted that student debt “exacerbates existing racial inequalities” and that “the cancellation will help close the racial wealth gap” while providing “a much needed economic stimulus.”
The organizations that signed the letter are:
- The American Federation of Teachers (AFT) and the National Education Association (NEA) – two of the largest teachers’ unions in the country with a combined membership of nearly 4 million members.
- The NAACP, a civil rights organization with 500,000 members.
- Student Debt Crisis, an advocacy organization for student loan borrowers that claims representation for two million borrowers.
- Consumer rights organizations including the National Consumer Law Center, Public Citizen, the National Association of Consumer Advocates, and the Center for Responsible Lending.
- Professional associations, including the American Academy of Social Work & Social Welfare (AASWSW), the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and the American Psychological Association.
- Economic justice organizations, including Americans for Financial Reform, Jobs With Justice, and United for a Fair Economy.
- Racial justice groups, including the Asian Pacific Americans National Council, the League of Japanese American Citizens and the National Coalition for Black Justice; youth organizations such as the Sunrise and Young Invisibles movement; and women’s groups, religious organizations, children’s groups, environmental groups, and LGBTQ organizations.
Collectively, these organizations represent the interests of a wide range of Americans. You can find the full list of organizations here.
In addition, more than 1,000 academics have signed a open letter to the president by urging him to cancel the student debt.
Public assistance to cancel student loan debt
A recent poll suggests that there is broad bipartisan public support for student debt cancellation:
- A survey conducted last year by Lake Research Partners and Chesapeake Beach Consulting found that more than six in ten Americans (63%) support permanent reduction in student loan debt by $ 20,000 during the coronavirus crisis. More than six in ten support the policy in all parts of the country. While support was strongest among Democratic and Independent respondents, nearly half of Republican respondents were also in favor of canceling student debt.
- Another survey published last year by Student Defense, the Student Defense Action Fund and Data for Progress also showed substantial bipartisan support for the cancellation of student loans. 67% of respondents, including 58% of Republicans, said they would support some form of generalized student loan forgiveness – whether universal, income-linked, or based on eligibility for a specific program. Only 26% of respondents said student loan debt should not be canceled.
- A survey published last week by the civil rights organization Color Of Change revealed that a substantial portion of the black electorate supports the cancellation of student debt, with 84% of black respondents supporting a full or partial cancellation of the student debt – two-thirds (67%) indicating they “strongly support” the elimination of student debt. Black women show the greatest support for eliminating student debt, with 90% in favor of partial cancellation and half in favor of full cancellation.
What’s the next step for student loan forgiveness?
President Biden has indicated that his preference would be for Congress to pass legislation providing for student loan relief, including student loan forgiveness. While Congress is currently focused on confirming the remaining candidates for Biden’s cabinet and passing a new economic relief plan, the president has extended the hiatus on most federal student loan payments and interest until until September 30, 2021, giving Congress a substantial window to act.
Meanwhile, the White House tasked the US Department of Justice with assessing the legality of the cancellation of student debt through executive action.