Student loans weigh heavy on Americans as President Biden’s promises fall flat
This week marks the one-year anniversary of President Biden’s inauguration, and his presidency leaves much to be desired.
So many promises were made when President Biden was pandering to young black and brown voters, and since his election, we are still waiting for those promises to be fulfilled.
In the November 2020 election, a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling of registered voters between the ages of 18 and 35, asked millennials which policies would be most likely to motivate them to come out and vote for a candidate. Three of the top five policies they chose concerned student debt and higher education.
Millennials wanted their elected officials to tackle the rising costs of college, throw a lifeline to borrowers struggling with debt, and tackle an economy that continues to leave many young Americans behind. Today, a year later, these are still our biggest concerns.
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Student loan debt is crushing
As young people, student loans continued to cripple us and our livelihoods. The burden of student debt exceeds both credit card debt and car debt in this country, and is the only type of debt that has increased since the Great Recession.
Student debt was born out of the state’s disinvestment in higher education. In the 1970s, state governments provided public colleges with nearly 75% of their funding, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
In 1990, state funding per student was almost 140% higher than that of the federal government. Over the past 30 years, all but two states have taken money out of their public higher education system. This disinvestment has passed the costs on to students, making higher education a burden on us.
Student loans were the only way for me to pursue higher education and a bachelor’s degree was required for the career field I wanted to pursue. As an undergraduate student attending a lower cost university, I received scholarships and grants and still had to take out loans to cover tuition and housing.
During the consultation required for the signature of the promissory note of my loans, I was asked to enter the salary scale of my profession to calculate the duration of the repayment of the loans. This counseling process ignores the fact that black women are severely underpaid.
The salary I quoted was about $20,000 more than salaries I’ve been offered for similar positions. Pay equity is a serious issue and its consequences have long-term effects when it comes to student loans.
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Student debt is a ‘dead weight for the US economy’
Student debt is preventing American students and families from moving forward, buying homes, starting families, and having a chance to live the promise of the “American Dream” sold to us on entering at University. Black and brown borrowers are particularly affected because they currently owe the majority of student debt while being continually underpaid, but black women are specifically the most affected.
Black women have the highest student loan debt of any racial or ethnic group and new data from the American Association of University Women shows that, on average, African American women owe 22% more student loan debt. student loans than white women. Given this, any debt cancellation plan must be fair, ensuring that the most needy borrowers, low-income and low-income students, are not left out.
President Biden must keep his promise and cancel part of the student loans. We will no longer stand idly by when politicians betray us.
We’ve been patient after being told different amounts, different time frames, and now we’re speaking up.
2021 was a year and as 3LW said “We’re sick of your broken promises, promises.”
Act now, cancel our student debt.
Amber Sherman is a millennial and nationally known Memphian political strategist. She is currently a policy professional and a member of the National Women’s Committee for Young Democrats in Tennessee.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Cancellation of student loan debt yet another of Biden’s broken promises