Democrats pressure President Biden to forgive student loan debt

President Biden is being pressed by Democrats to forgive student debt, which today stands at about 1.7 trillion dollars in the U.S. according to CNBC news. Many factors such as COVID-19 and inflation have caused college tuition to rise putting students into more debt than ever before.  According to The New York Times, student loan debt was about 1.4 trillion in 2017 before the pandemic hit.  

Previously, the Trump Administration placed a Student Loan Repayment-Moratorium (a hold on paying student loan debt depending on your income level), which was supposed to end in Jan 2022, but President Biden recently extended the expiration date to May 1. Democrats are now pressuring the President to cancel student loan debt entirely.  

One such Democrat is Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) who has pushed for widespread student debt forgiveness to help address the racial wealth gap.  “If we were able to get some student debt forgiveness package, I think it would go a long way,” Warnock said according to The Hill. “I think it would be a huge lift on the personal economies of these borrowers, but it would be a tremendous lift to the economy.”  

According to the Brookings Institute, there is a disproportionate student loan debt for Black and Hispanic people. In a report for the Brookings Institute Judith Scott Clayton and Jing Li from the Economics department at Columbia University said, “The moment they earn their bachelor’s degrees, Black college graduates owe $7,400 more on average than their white peers ($23,400 versus $16,000, including non-borrowers in the averages).  But over the next few years, the black-white debt gap more than triples to a whopping $25,000.”  

An October analysis by the Brookings Institution also found that 60% of education debt is held by the nation’s top 40% earners, with an annual income of $74,000 or more. Thus, while student debt cancellation would help many minority students, it would mainly affect the middle and upper class of all races, especially those who attend expensive colleges and universities. Canceling student debt would also leave out students and families that paid their college tuition fees in full.