Students are looking to hold President Biden accountable for his campaign promise to cancel student debt. During his campaign for President, Biden promised America he would cancel $10,000 in student debt for every borrower. Almost a year into his first term, Biden hasn’t yet made good on his promise to Americans.
On Thursday, Jan. 20 students plan to march near the White House to demand the Biden Administration keep their promise to solve the student debt crisis, which many believe is a civil rights and racial justice issue.
So far, the Biden Administration has provided some student loan relief in the form of improving existing programs.
In Dec. 2021, Biden extended the suspension of student loan payments until April 30, 2022. On May 1, student loan payments will restart and Americans will be stuck in the student debt cycle once again. The Education Department claims it has discharged or is in the process of discharging nearly $12.7 billion in student debt, affecting more than 638,000 borrowers.
But borrowers are demanding real action from Biden. They believe he should extend the suspension for as long as we are in the pandemic. They are also calling on the cancellation of the $1.6 trillion in student debt held by 46 million Americans and support Congressional leaders who demand Biden cancel $50,000 of student debt per borrower.
“That was a pretty clear promise that he made during the campaign,” said Persis Yu, policy director at the Student Borrower Protection Center. “And certainly, that is a promise that I think many borrowers are right now waiting for him to fulfill.”
Biden’s student debt broken promise has been a sore spot for the recently elected President, especially among his black constituents, who see the student debt crisis as a black problem. According to a 2019 report from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, “Twenty years after starting college, the median debt of White borrowing students has been reduced by 94 percent — with almost half holding no student debt — whereas Black borrowers at the median still owe 95 percent of their cumulative borrowing total.”
In a recent press conference, Biden was asked bluntly by a reporter, “You campaigned on canceling $10,000 in student loans. Do you still plan to do so and when?”
He completely ignored the question.
But Biden’s constituents don’t want to be ignored, they what immediate action.
“Broad-based student debt cancellation is precisely the kind of bold, high-impact policy that the broad and diverse coalition that elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris expect them to deliver,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.