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Senators Warren, Schumer Urge President Trump to Provide Broad Federal Student Debt Cancellation

Thursday, September 17, 2020
Ashley Harrington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) unveiled a resolution urging President Donald Trump to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student debt through executive action.

Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) Federal Advocacy Director and Senior Counsel Ashley Harrington released the following statement:

We applaud Senators Warren and Schumer for drafting a plan that would provide crucial student debt relief to at least 44 million borrowers who owe more than $1.5 trillion in student loans. The current public health and economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated the urgency to respond to a student loan crisis that continues to disproportionately affect Black borrowers and other borrowers of color, women, veterans, and low-income families.

Too many student borrowers are struggling under the weight of their student debt burden. Borrowers of color, in particular, are still recovering from the devastating effects of the Great Recession and have been hit hardest by the devastating health and economic consequences of this crisis. If our lawmakers don’t provide student borrowers with significant relief— and do so soon— we will see a widening racial wealth gap, a more segregated society, and slower economic recovery overall.

We urge President Trump to execute the senators’ plan and provide relief to the millions of student loan borrowers and recent graduates facing one of the toughest job markets in recent history. Broad student debt cancellation is the most efficient and effective solution to protect our students and boost a sluggish economy.

Additional Background

  • In July 2019, CRL co-authored a report with civil rights organizations entitled Quicksand: Borrowers Of Color & The Student Debt Crisis, where the report offered policy recommendations, including across-the-board cancellation. The report found that even cancellation of $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower would have a profound impact for struggling borrowers. Because of the wide-spread economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, CRL is advocating reducing student loan debt by at least $20,000;
  • A report published by the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College found that cancelling all student debt could boost the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) between $86 billion and $108 billion per year over a 10-year period;
  • In July, CRL along with 100 community, civil rights, consumer, and student advocacy organizations sent a letter to Congress leadership urging them to insist on student debt cancellation for all borrowers during coronavirus relief package negotiations;
  • President Trump’s Memorandum on Continued Student Loan Payment Relief During the COVID–19 Pandemic will expire on December 31, 2020, causing the relief for Federal student loan borrowers to expire on January 1st, 2021;
  • More than eight million Federal student loan borrowers are currently in default and millions more are in serious delinquency;
  • According to a 2019 report by Brandeis, a typical Black borrower still owes 95% of their initial student debt total 20 years after starting college;
  • Women hold more than two-thirds of the nation’s $1.5 trillion in student loan debt.

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Press Contact: Vincenza Previte vincenza.previte@responsiblelending.org