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  • Skyla Jewell-Hammie

President Joe Biden "Revises" Previous Student Loan Debt Relief Commitments

In CNN’s Town Hall last Tuesday, President Joe Biden was asked an essential question about student loan debt that involves Chuck Schumer and Senator Elizabeth Warren’s proposal to eliminate “up to” $50,000 of student loan debt, according to CNBC. Biden’s response: “I’m prepared to write off a $10,000 debt, but not $50,000.” In another statement at CNN Town Hall, Biden mentioned that he believed he would consider canceling student loans by signing an executive order, but he is “not sure he has the legal authority.”


Biden’s response to the proposal is a complete disregard for Black college graduates, who owe an average of $34,000 in student loan debt each before starting their careers. Their white counterparts pay nearly $25,000 less than Black college graduates. Although the student loan debt crisis seems to increase each graduation term, Biden is only dismissing $10,000 in debt per borrower. This “plan” will still move forward with excluding first-generation college students who attended private universities, according to Color of Change.


Going back to Biden’s commitments in late November 2020, Biden promised to “increase the quality and affordability of postsecondary education, so that student loan debt did not prevent from buying a home or saving for retirement,” according to a report by Forbes. Now, it is about to be a full year since the pandemic first became apparent. Making the decisions to seclude private institutions, and only allowing a small amount of relief for each borrower, is only going to create an ongoing debt for Black individuals who are already struggling from a negligent justice system.


Who says that there are no BIPOC individuals who go to private institutions on loans? Just because it is a private institution and an assumed Ivy League, it does not make it any less reachable for Black students. Biden closing his mind to the stereotype that follows Ivy Leagues is only going to hurt the community, and paint a bigger spotlight on the lack of inclusion discussed.

68% of Black students end up dropping out of college due to the cost and fear debt would have on their livelihoods. A whopping $1.7 trillion student loan debt crisis exists within this country.

If student loan debt was eliminated, this would able 75% of Black individuals to save for retirement, 53% would purchase a home, 49% would be able to move to a comfortable neighborhood, and 48% would be able to leave a job where ignorance and racism exist, according to the Color of Change.


This debt crisis is not only an economic discussion to have but to also speak and highlight race relations. Whenever there is an economic unjust for Black communities, it is almost always a race issue as well; almost always a way to keep BIPOC individuals behind. Biden claims $50,000 is unethical to supply, that it is out of his power, and ultimately up to Congress to make any unilateral decision for student loan cancellation, according to Forbes.


Resources:

AbigailJHess. “‘I Will Not Make That Happen’: Biden Says He Will Not Support $50K in Student Debt Forgiveness.” CNBC, CNBC, 17 Feb. 2021, www.cnbc.com/2021/02/17/biden-says-he-will-not-support-50k-in-student-debt-forgiveness.html.

“Demand That Congress ELIMINATE Student Loan Debt!” ColorOfChange.org, act.colorofchange.org/letter/eliminate-student-debt/?source=tp_email_link2&t=7&akid=49136.6988206.vcjSte.

Friedman, Zack. “Biden: I Will Not Cancel $50,000 Of Student Loans.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 17 Feb. 2021, www.forbes.com/sites/zackfriedman/2021/02/16/biden-i-will-not-forgive-50000-of-student-loans/?sh=7859e48a176e.

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