Biden and Harris have been in office for two weeks working to reverse the chaotic world we have been living in since March 2020. So far, I’ve been hearing buzz about healthcare, COVID vaccines, stimulus checks, unemployment, and more. On Biden’s first day on the job, he signed several executive orders. One of those orders was cancelling $10,000 of federal student loan borrower’s debt. Although for some people that may be their entire loan amount, for the rest of us sitting on a couple extra thousand, that 10k is a slight burden lifted off our shoulders. On top of that, my man Joe said he’s extending the loan deferral payments until October.
According to cnbc.com, in the last few days some of the Senate’s top Democrats have been pushing hard for the President to forgive $50,000 of federal student loan debt. The resolution was first made and introduced in the Senate last year in the House of Representatives by Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Mondaire Jones of the Democratic party.
The proposed plan could shrink the country’s outstanding student loan debt balance from $1.7 trillion to $700 billion. According to higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz, “The plan would forgive all of the debt for 80% of federal student loan borrowers, or 36 million people.” Unfortunately, this plan would not help borrowers of private student loans.
Black and Latino Americans would score big from this proposal too. Nearly 85% of Black bachelor’s degree recipients carry student debt, compared to 69% of White bachelor’s degree recipients.
The coronavirus pandemic has made the holes in Americans’ pockets real deep. With thousands of people on unemployment, the pause on loans relieves some stress but once those payments restart it’ll be harder for them to catch up on other bills. “Debt cancellation would have a tremendous impact on those most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic: Black Americans, older borrowers and recent graduates,” said Alexis Goldstein, a senior policy analyst at Americans for Financial Reform.
Black and Latino Americans would score big from this proposal too. Nearly 85% of Black bachelor’s degree recipients carry student debt, compared to 69% of White bachelor’s degree recipients. While white women and men owe an average of 29k to 31k in student loans, Black men and women owe an average of 35k to 37k.
I’m not gone lie I have been pretty blessed during the pandemic, mainly speaking of that pause on student loans. Your girl was straight up stressing on paying them back because I haven’t started working in my field. Luckily with the new administration, myself and thousands of federal loan borrowers, have more time to get our ducks in a row. Hopefully if this bill is passed, I will feel more confident about pursuing a masters’ degree. Until then, I will not let a burden created because I valued my education stop me from anything, and it should be the same for you. Apply for those scholarships and grants. Go get that degree. Finish high school strong so your dream school will pay for you instead of you paying them.
By Brenae Scott, Alcorn State University Alumni
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