President Biden this week criticized student loan forgiveness proposals, painting the pressure to cancel student debt as unfairly benefiting wealthy students who attended expensive Ivy League schools.
“The idea that you go to Pennsylvania and pay a total of $70,000 a year and have the public pay for it? Biden said in an interview with New York times
Biden previously suggested that eliminating group student loans would primarily benefit Ivy League students. Students and borrower advocates backed out. In February, after Biden made similar comments at a CNN Town Hall event, students at Harvard Crimson Harvard Student Independent Published an editorial criticizing Biden’s comments and stating that they are not rooted in facts.
“We often see the Ivy League being used as a political tool, usually in incorrect or misleading ways,” the editorial staff said. “Student loan forgiveness provides a rare opportunity to level social and economic opportunity, providing social mobility for those burdened with debt for no other reason than that their parents—like the average American—cannot afford tens of thousands of dollars out of their pockets.”
According to statistics published by the US Department of Education, a fraction of one percent of students who take out federal student loans are enrolled in Ivy League colleges.
“Of the 45 million Americans with student loan debt, very few have gone to Harvard, Yale, or Pennsylvania,” Persis Yu, director of the Student Loan Assistance Project at the National Center for Consumer Law, wrote in an article for CNN. in February. Quite simply, student loan debt is not an elite problem. The vast majority of student loan borrowers are lower- and middle-class Americans who have had to take on debt to get a post-secondary education, and who are paying a heavy price.”
In addition, student loan advocates point to significant racial disparities in higher education funding, noting that black students are more likely to rely on student loans than their white counterparts, and benefit more from widespread debt relief. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), 77.7% of black students borrow federal student loans to pay for higher education, well above the national average for all students (60%) and for white students (57.5%). Black students are also more likely to attend for-profit institutions, which are often accused of deceptive and hypothetical behavior, and have higher dropout rates than most public and nonprofit schools.
Biden has consistently expressed support for canceling student debt, promising during his presidential campaign, “I will cancel student debt.” But he has opposed calls for $50,000 or more for student loan forgiveness, an amount paid by Democrats in Congress and a broad coalition of advocacy organizations, teacher unions and civil rights groups. He indicated that he will support $10,000 in student loan forgiveness, targeting low-income borrowers.
Biden directed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona and attorneys at the Justice Department to conduct a legal review of his options for canceling student debt. This legal review is ongoing, and it’s not clear what the conclusions will be, although we may know soon.
Will Biden cancel student loan debt? We may know soon
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If you have paid off your student loans, you may be entitled to a refund