It’s been reported that President Biden is close to a final decision on canceling at least $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $150,000 or $300,000 for married couples. This consideration comes on the heels of the president recently extending the debt payment deadline through August 31, the third time in the two years since the start of the pandemic, which triggered the first pause.
This debt relief has helped Black borrowers and their families, who hold disproportionately higher debt, from being pushed to the edge of a financial cliff. While the average Black college graduate owes $52,726 in student debt, the average white college grad owes closer to $28,006, according to Brookings Institution.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the impending burden of student loan debt for Black Americans. The Black unemployment rate remains two times higher than for Black Americans who are having the greatest difficulty recovering economically. Across the nation in early March, nearly 55% of all households reported having some level of difficulty paying for typical household expenses. This number was notably higher for Black households, where 63% of households reported having difficulty covering the basics. In fact, more than one in three (35%) of those households reported facing “very difficult” challenges in paying for expenses.
While the repayment pause and proposed cancellation of $10,000 for borrowers meeting the income criteria may provide temporary comfort, Black Americans — not just borrowers — are eager for the administration to take decisive, permanent action on student loan debt relief. For example, according to a Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies’ poll, 76% of Black Americans surveyed said the president should cancel all student debt.
Because Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by student loan debt, the Joint Center continues to call for the Biden administration to take permanent action that delivers relief to all borrowers. The following are 10 reasons why President Biden should immediately do so: