As the nationwide pause on federal student loan payments approaches its Aug. 31 cutoff date, all eyes are on President Joe Biden to see whether he’ll re-extend the pause or usher in legislation to provide debt relief.
With a decision on the matter slated to come sometime this month, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is calling on Biden to cancel at least $50,000 of student debt for Black borrowers in particular.
Derrick Johnson, president and CEO of the NAACP, spoke on the subject in a letter to Biden late last week.
“Any extension must be accompanied by meaningful cancellation,” he wrote, according to Insider. “We urge you to cancel a minimum of $50,000 as Black borrowers — drowning in an average of $53,000 in student debt — have virtually no realistic way to pay it back in today’s unjust economy.”
This sentiment was backed up by Wisdom Cole — the NAACP’s national director of youth and college, during a recent sit-down with TheGrio.
“Black borrowers are physically impacted by the weight that student debt has,” Cole began.
“Student debt is something that is causing a barrier for folks to get their lives started. For folks who are interested in becoming homeowners, business owners, or just being able to start a family. Student debt is something that weighs heavily on us,” he continued.
Cole went on to say that students are “sold” on the belief that earning a degree will allow them to live a certain lifestyle, but “instead of that being the case, Black borrowers end up leaving college with an average of $53,000 in student debt.”
He also encouraged voters to focus on supporting candidates who have solid plans of ushering in student debt cancellation.
“What are you planning to ensure that student debt cancellation happens? What are you doing to ensure that you are being a vocal ally? A vocal supporter? A vocal candidate to ensure that you do all that you can to ensure this happens?” he remarked. “We really need to make sure that candidates have plans and aren’t just telling us what we want to hear, but actually working to make it a reality.”
“I think if Biden doesn’t cancel student debt during this term it’s going to be hard to rally folks around him, particularly young Black folks,” Cole added.
These comments come on the heels of the Biden-Harris Administration canceling out student debt for select borrowers through initiatives like the Limited PSLF Waiver program, as Blavity previously reported.
Biden also recently provided debt relief for students defrauded by their institutions, including various schools associated with Corinthian Colleges.
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