We applaud the Biden administration for another step toward making equitable access to opportunity in America possible through the announcement of the cancellation of $10,000 in direct student debt and $20,000 in Pell Grant obligations for those making less than $125,000 per year and the continued pause in repayment obligations.
From the standpoint of equity, there is still much work to be done. Canceling $10,000 in student debt when the average white borrower is $12,000 in debt, while Black women hold on average over $52,000 in debt is another example of how equality is not equity and we have much work to do to address the systemic conditions that perpetuate these inequitable conditions.
And while this will take some of the immediate burden away from many families, addressing those inequitable conditions, including the lack of generational wealth and additional support resources that many are forced to make up for through additional borrowing, we have not seen enough to address the underlying inequity of these systems that perpetuate economic inequality.
In addition, canceling $10,000 in student loan debt merely puts a band aid on the real problem of reforming the system that has landed us in this mess – and within years we will be right back at the same point.
We need to immediately address the continual rise in student loan debt and encourage policymakers at both the state and federal level to invest in more affordable and accessible options for higher education programs, especially 2 and 4 year programs and the community college system.
Prioritizing needs-based student financial aid in addition to merit-based aid to directly benefit children who grow up in communities with underperforming and poorly funded public K-12 education will help to allow for economic mobility without the heavy burden of student loan debt after graduation – through the passage and implementation of the Debt-Free College Act.”