It is believed that if the U.S. has a cold, the Black population will get the flu. In the United States, historically, communities of color have suffered the most from policy decisions. The student debt crisis is no different. Nearly 45 million Americans owe federal student loans.
According to researcher Melanie HansonAccording to the Education Data Initiative (EDI), black borrowers are more likely not to repay student loans on time and have higher monthly repayments. Four years after graduation, half the borrowers owe an average of 12.5 percent more than what they borrowed. This means that despite having a college education, Black graduates will be more likely to struggle to make ends meet — perpetuating the cycle of poverty we were led to believe college education would free us from. Black borrowers also have lower family wealth and post-college incomes, which makes it more difficult to repay debt and contributes to a higher rate of bankruptcy. higher debt-to-income ratio.
Canceling student debt broadly would not only stimulate the U.S. economy from the ground up, but would also offer a pathway to economic and social justice for a demographic that has been historically marginalized and denied access to the things most commonly associated with “the American Dream.”
After the death of George Floyd, there was a lot of discussion about addressing systemic harm. Joe Biden, then-candidate, made promises to address many of these injustices. He knew that the presidency would only be won with the support from Black, Brown, and millennial voters. Some of his promises were stopped by Congress. However, President Biden has broad authority under the Higher Education Act 1965 to cancel student debt. Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, has repeatedly called on Biden to use his authority to cancel federal college debt up to $50,000 for each student with that amount of debt.
One estimate suggests that a total of 40% of Black wealth would be achieved by removing student debt. This — coupled with other equity-driven policies surrounding consumer debt, mortgage financing and credit reporting — would significantly level the playing field for Black borrowers.
However, borrowers will have to pay a lot more if student loans are repaid in May as they were planned. $85 billion per yearMoreover, borrowers from color would be affected in adisproportionate way.
The #WithoutStudentDebtCampaign, being hosted by RootsAction.org along with a growing coalition of other groups, will encourage borrowers to envision what life would be like if President Biden took this bold step for racial and economic justice — and to organize for making that possibility a reality.
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