As I am going into the final stages of my high school career and looking into what college I should attend, financial aid and the proper interpretation of financial aid letters have become increasingly pressing. According to a Cnet article, in America alone, students have accumulated a total of “…$1.71 trillion in loan debt, making it second in consumer debt behind home mortgages.” And while there are plenty of criticisms of the younger generations for not buying houses or marrying, the honest truth is that due to the crushing burden of student loan debt, many young people in America are simply unable to focus on settling down and starting a family when they have to work to fight years of interest building up and mounting pressure against them.
In 2020, Joe Biden’s campaign had a large focus on the working class and families– including a focus on children and young adult’s education. Aside from developing a plan to reopen schools, Biden made many claims surrounding higher education. Naturally, as the workforce continues to grow more and more competitive, a high school diploma is simply no longer enough to assure future work for young people; in fact, even a college degree is not a promise, but I digress.
One of Joe Biden’s campaign promises regarding higher education (directly from his official campaign site) was to “…provide two years of community college or other high-quality training programs without debt for any hard-working individual looking to learn and improve their skills. He will also make four-year public colleges and universities tuition-free for all students whose family incomes are below $125,000.” Recently, these promises are being pushed back into the light.
In a hearing on Tuesday, April 13th, Senator Elizabeth Warren urged President Biden to move forward and declare an executive order effectively canceling student debt. To Warren, “This is the single most powerful executive action President Biden could take to advance racial equity and give everyone in America a chance to build a future.” And this is especially true surrounding the economic displacement the pandemic has brought upon many Americans, with the heaviest economic burdens weighing on Black and Latine communities. But this discussion did not end there. Senator Chuck Schumer as well as a multitude of other Democratic legislators have also called upon President Biden to absolve $50,000 in student debt for all borrowers by executive action. And while Biden is currently issuing a pause on federal student loan payments, it seems he only supports a student loan forgiveness of $10,000 dollars, which is less than what one year of attendance would cost for a majority of students in the U.S.
If Biden were to issue a $50,000 forgiveness, it would “…completely relieve the burden for 36 million people — 84% of all borrowers — now weighed down by college debt, according to fresh U.S. Department of Education numbers supplied to a Senate panel.” While millions of Americans are depending on President Biden to make a call that could possibly relieve years of stress from their shoulders, as of now they simply have to watch and see what unfolds; the ball is in his court now.