Student Debt Is a Racial Justice Issue
December 8, 2022
In August of this year, President Biden followed through on a campaign promise to help debt-drowning college students pay off their loans. He announced a loan forgiveness program acknowledging that the total cost of both four-year public and private college has nearly tripled over the last 40 years…and that’s after accounting for inflation.
A variety of court cases have been brought against Biden’s plan blocking the U.S. Department of Education from moving forward. Just last week, the Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on one of them — Nebraska v. Biden, that will determine whether or not the Biden administration overstepped its authority in using the HEROS Act — an act that allows the administration to change payments on student loans during times of national emergency — to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for nearly 40 million Americans. The oral arguments are set for February. Thankfully while this issue pends in court, the administration extended a pause on federal student loan payments so that borrowers are protected.
At the ACLU, we believe the student debt crisis is a racial justice issue depriving Black and Brown Americans important social and economic mobility.
Here to discuss how we got here, the litigation at hand, and why this issue is one of racial justice and systemic equality is Persis Yu. She is the Deputy Executive Director and Managing Counsel at the Student Borrower Protection Center, a group leading the charge in advocating for forgiveness.