President-elect Joe Biden is facing mounting pressure to extend student loan debt relief or forgive thousands of indebted dollars for the millions of people who had their loan payments suspended throughout the pandemic.
With payments expected to resume in the new year, action on this front could help many who are out of work or facing financial hardship. Such relief could have a significant impact beyond the pandemic for Black student loan borrowers who are regularly forced to take on higher debt loads to afford college.
Student loan debt hit a record $1.6 trillion among 45 million borrowers in February, and has only increased during the pandemic. Biden’s Plan for Education Beyond High School during his presidential campaign to forgive some student debt has recently gained notoriety as many have called for a complete forgiveness of all such debt.
More than 86 percent of Black students take out federal loans to attend four-year institutions compared to about 60 percent of white students, according to data from the National Center for Education Statistics. Student loan cancellation could have a sizable impact on the Black community and shrink the racial wealth gap.