Black American student debt crisis is ‘entirely unsustainable’: Chuck Schumer

Black American student debt crisis is ‘entirely unsustainable’: Chuck Schumer

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  • Sen. Chuck Schumer and Derrick Johnson of the NAACP have urged Biden to write off student debt.
  • They wrote in BET that the racial wealth divide will persist as long as student debt continues to grow.
  • Despite the pressure, Biden still plans to resume loan payments on May 1.

A day before President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address, two leading advocates for student debt forgiveness told the president he must act in the face of the growing student debt crisis of 1 .7 trillion dollars.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and NAACP Chairman Derrick Johnson wrote an op-ed piece in Black Entertainment Television (BET), in which they detailed the impact of student debt in the country on black borrowers. They noted that black borrowers are more likely to take out student loans to start than their white counterparts, and while the median white borrower will only owe 6% of their student debt 20 years after entering college, median black borrowers will still owe 95% of their debt over the same period.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson poses for a photo Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022, in Los Angeles.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson.

AP Photo/Richard Vogel

“This disparity is unacceptable,” Schumer and Johnson wrote. “It’s not American. And at the current rate, it’s totally unsustainable.”

They detailed the plight of black Americans simply seeking an education, highlighting how America’s first university – Harvard – was established in 1636, but Alexander Twilight, the first black university graduate, did not do so until 1823. .

“We still have a long way to go to close the racial wealth gap in America,” Schumer and Johnson wrote. “And that probably won’t happen as long as student debt continues to grow at its current rate.”

Student loan payments have been on hold for nearly two years as part of pandemic relief measures from Biden and President Donald Trump. While Biden recently extended the pause for a third time, until May 1, Johnson, Schumer and other lawmakers and advocates have argued that if Biden can continue to extend the pause on payments, he should largely cancel debt. student to close the racial wealth gap and boost the economy.

Likely voters with student debt also joined lawmakers in pushing for loan relief. A recent survey by Data for Progress and the Student Borrower Protection Center found that 70% of black borrowers support extending the payment pause, with 75% of the same group supporting forgiveness of some or all of borrowers’ student debt.

Still, it’s unclear whether Biden will take action on the sweeping student debt relief his own party is calling for. While he pledged during his campaign to approve a $10,000 forgiveness for each federal borrower, that has yet to materialize. The White House has repeatedly said that if Congress sent it a bill to implement the relief, it would happily sign it into law, but Schumer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren have previously said the legislative route would take too long. time and would probably fail. through partisanship.

Schumer and Johnson said there was no reason for canceling student debt to be a difficult task.

“President Biden has offered millions of borrowers critical relief by extending the pause on student loan repayments during the COVID-19 pandemic,” they wrote. “It’s time for the president to take the next step: if the Biden administration can suspend debt, it can also cancel it.”

Robert P. Matthews