From the testimony delivered by Julia Barnard at the Department of Education's June 23rd hearing:
Good afternoon. My name is Julia Barnard, researcher and student loan team co-lead at the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL), a national advocacy organization focused on fighting predatory lending. I am here to deliver a statement on behalf of the Center for Responsible Lending.
Even before COVID-19, student loan borrowers struggled under the weight of more than $1.6 trillion in debt. One in four borrowers was in default or serious delinquency, and many worried about their ability to make student loan payments while covering other basic needs. Millions of lives were already stymied by student loan debt before the public health crisis. Extensive research has established that Black borrowers and other borrowers of color tend to have more difficulty in student loan repayment than their white peers because of past and ongoing racial discrimination. They are also among the communities hit hardest by the current pandemics and its effects.