How a group wants to abolish $ 511 billion in university loans for Southerners

How a group wants to abolish $ 511 billion in university loans for Southerners

If President Biden does not extend the moratorium on student loan repayments or to write off debt by September 30, federal loan borrowers will have to start repaying student debt again.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration removed more than $ 55 million in debt owed by 1,800 students loan borrowers. Although the cancellation was against loans granted on fraudulent grounds, the news has other debtors asking when they can expect their loans to be canceled.

This temporary suspension of government-held federal student loans, which began last year, has eased financial pressure on many borrowers throughout the pandemic and recession. With an estimate $ 1.71 trillion total student debt, debt elimination groups like The debt collective have ambitious strategies and solutions for the abolition of student debt.

“People shouldn’t have to borrow money to go to college. This is why we are advocating for free public colleges and complete cancellation of student loan debt, ”said Braxton Brewington, The Debt Collective Press Officer.

Southern state borrowers collectively owe more than $ 511 billion in federal student loans. With reforms such as the free public university and complete cancellation of student loan debt, Southerners may have a better opportunity to narrow the wealth and education gap, advocates say.

While the Biden administration and many southern lawmakers have argued for a phased approach to debt relief, The Debt Collective understands how full cancellation could benefit everyone.

“President Biden ran and said, ‘I want to be president so I can unite the country.’ Not writing off student debt doesn’t help this program. What would help unite the country would be the cancellation of student debt, ”Brewington said.

In one editorial for Teen Vogue Brewington wrote about the benefits of student debt cancellation and its huge potential from bottom to top revival of our economy.

And because student debt is racially regressive – black borrowers need to 100% more in debt than white borrowers four years after graduation – canceling that debt would significantly reduce enlargement racial wealth gap, closing the wealth gap between blacks and whites for student loan borrowers of more than 25 percentage points.

A representative from Debt Collective spoke to Reckon about getting rid of federal student debt, full debt cancellation, and free public colleges.


What could total debt cancellation look like?


Debt cancellation is a progressive policy because it rightes the wrongs of the regressive nature of student debt. So when student debt is canceled, it will disproportionately benefit the people in our country who need it most.

Canceling student loan debt is not the solution to higher education reform. This authority (of the president) is not for one-time use either. If President Biden wanted, he could pledge to write off the federal student loan debt at the end of each semester, so we never have it again.

If you are not arguing for a total annulment, that means you inherently believe higher education is a commodity. We believe it is not a commodity, which is why we are fighting for the total cancellation and free university education, because we say that student debt is morally illegitimate.


What strategy is there to make public colleges free?


We need to restore the college to its status as a public good, as it once was. Even though it was exclusive, it was free and accessible to people just like health care or housing, we also see the university as a public good.

Higher education must be free and accessible to all.

While national advocacy groups like The Debt Collective are offering full cancellation and free public college as an approach to ending student debt, some southern states have made more immediate progress in supporting residents who owe student loans.

How are Southern states moving to support student loan borrowers?

About 1.6 million Georgians are in student loan debt, and borrowing has only increased for historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), online-only students, and for-profit students.

The Georgia University System (USG), which forms the majority of the state’s students, has made progress in reducing the amount of borrowers by encouraging them to take 15 credit hours per semester (to graduate earlier) and by covering the cost of textbooks and study materials. USG also created an initiative, “Learn more, borrow less” an online tool that works to reduce barriers to financial aid by improving students’ understanding of borrowing and reducing student debt.

Alabamian university graduates leave the state after graduation. Five years after obtaining their baccalaureate, these graduates find employment outside the state. Alabama lawmakers are trying new efforts to retain these graduates.

Last year, lawmakers allocated $ 240,000 from the state’s education budget to the Best and Brightest Initiative, which pays off student loan debt of up to $ 15,000 over five years.

North Carolina has the most black undergraduate students enrolled in HBCU, and 90% of black students have to borrow federal dollars to go to college.

This debt disproportionately affects HBCU graduates. Shaw University in Raleigh and Fayetteville State University are using COVID-19 relief funds to ease the debt burden on their students.

Shaw University relieved $ 116,000 in debt for its graduates; they allocated funds from the second COVID-19 recovery plan, past last December to support borrowers.

Fayetteville State University used pandemic relief funds to write off $ 1.6 million in tuition debt for nearly 1,500 students.

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