By Lisa Kashinsky | February 19, 2021
Maura Healey is leading the charge of 17 Democratic state attorneys general who are calling on the federal government to wipe out up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.
“Student loan borrowers were already struggling before the COVID-19 pandemic and recession,” the attorneys general wrote in their letter to top congressional lawmakers.
“The existing repayment system for federal student loans providers insufficient opportunity for struggling borrowers to manage their debts or recover from the current economic crisis,” they continued. “Broad cancellation of federal student loan debt will provide immediate relief to millions who are struggling during this pandemic and recession, and give a much-needed boost to families and our economy.”
The letter calls on President Biden to take executive action to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower, echoing the push led by U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Biden rejected those calls during a CNN town hall on Tuesday, saying, “I’m prepared to write off a $10,000 debt, but not 50.” He also shot down the idea of the federal government forgiving debt for students who went to elite schools like “Harvard and Yale and Penn.”
Warren responded by telling constituents during her own virtual town hall to “send a note to President Biden” urging him to reconsider.
On Thursday, during a visit to a coronavirus vaccine clinic in Chelsea, Warren said Biden “wants to be sure that he has legal authority to act” before pursuing executive action. She’s confident he does, noting that former presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama both moved to cancel student loan debt during their tenures.
“Canceling up to $50,000 worth of student loan debt is the single biggest step the president could take by himself to lift up our economy,” Warren said. “It is also the single biggest step the president could take by himself to help close the Black wealth gap, the Latino wealth gap, for those who have student loan debt.”
Healey and her colleagues addressed the litany of issues facing federal student loan borrowers: One in five are in default, others are struggling to manage their debt due to illness or job loss, and some are “victims of predatory, for-profit colleges that lure students with false promises and leave them with worthless degrees, few job prospects and insurmountable debt.”
“Borrowers deserve and desperately need relief from the federal student loan burden, and they need relief immediately,” they said.
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