With nearly 35% of USF Tampa undergraduates stuck with over $ 30,000 in debt after graduating with a bachelor’s degree and many Americans struggling with the pandemic, student debt relief should be a priority absolute for the Biden administration. ORACLE / FLICKR / InvestmentZen SPECIAL

The U.S. Jobs Plan, which is President Joe Biden’s first major infrastructure bill, gradually tapers off as it moves from side to side of the aisle, leaving plenty of aside from the major promises Biden made to voters when he ran for president.

Biden has pledged to write off $ 10,000 in debt per student loan borrower as well as all debts owed by historically black college and university alumni during his time as president, according to documents of its joint task force with Senator Bernie Sanders.

However, he dropped the ball on his last chance to keep those promises by not adding them to the U.S. Jobs Plan, ignoring a chance not only to personally benefit students, but also to stimulate the economy. The cancellation of student debt should be included in the final version of this plan.

White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain announced on April 2 that Biden had asked the US Department of Education (DOE) to prepare a memo outlining his executive ability to cancel debt.

Klain announced that it would hopefully happen in a few weeks, but two months later no word or timeline has been given. Debt Collective, a union of debtors pushing for the cancellation of student debt, believes this “memo” is a blocking tactic to avoid dealing with the student debt problem.

It doesn’t make sense for him to be stuck when it affects the economy and students, especially since that was one of Biden’s key points in his campaign.

Student loan debt holds the second largest share of household debt with 45 million Americans affected, according to Brookings Institution. The total national student loan debt amounts to $ 1.7 trillion, according to the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, which does not serve the economy well and weighs on millions of households with this debt .

The DOE’s Federal Student Aid Office has data that shows $ 10,000 forgiveness of debt would completely relieve 15.3 million borrowers of student debt, with nearly 34 percent of Americans struggling with student debt. student debt. It would also greatly benefit the 9.6 million Americans with student loan debt between $ 20,000 and $ 40,000.

Many USF students are among those 9.6 million Americans after just four years of college. About 35% of all undergraduates at USF’s Tampa campus use federal student loans to help pay for their education, for an average of $ 7,679 per year. This means that a student would end up with $ 15,358 after earning their associate degree and $ 30,716 after earning their bachelor’s degree.

Canceling that debt now could also help keep the economy and university-educated Americans afloat as the pandemic draws to a close.

Bharat Ramamurti, a member of the COVID-19 Congressional Oversight Committee, which focuses on economic stabilization efforts during the pandemic, explained in a November 16 statement. Twitter feed that canceling student debt could also mean that current loan payments would instead be used for savings or other expenses. Those who make payments pay an average of $ 200 to $ 299 per month, according to Federal Reserve 2019-20 report. These payments have been temporarily frozen due to the pandemic, but are expected to resume on October 1 of this year.

Ramamurti explained that it would be “like sending these people a check every month,” essentially putting $ 3,000 in Americans’ pockets each year, which could help stimulate the economy.

Student loan cancellation would also greatly benefit people who postpone milestones due to student loan debt. In the aforementioned survey conducted by SoFi, it was found that 61% of millennials delayed buying a home due to their student loan debt, while 39% postponed moving to another city or town. other state and over 35% delayed starting a family. .

The commitment to cancel the student loan was set aside not only in the employment plan, but also in the current budget proposed by Biden. The budget is apparently focused on what has already been proposed by the administration, according to White House budget office spokesman Rob Friedlander, and any major initiatives that are not actively worked on will not be included in the budget. proposal.

The problem with this is, as Senator Elizabeth Warren asserted at a press conference on Feb. 4, Biden has the power to write off debt through executive action.

“President Biden can take the most effective executive action available to massively stimulate our economy, help narrow the racial wealth gap and ease this impossible burden on tens of millions of families,” Warren said.

The signing of this decree would be painless and would not preclude defending other policies, which is all the more reason for it to be included as soon as possible.

When Biden promoted a student debt cancellation plan during his campaign, he gave hope to those struggling with the debt burden. Withdrawing now is not what is good for the country or the people who voted for it. This plan is something that citizens, Congress and our President should continue to fight for.

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