Several advocacy organizations, spearheaded by 1000 Women Strong, a national hub for Black women organizing, have requested a series of meetings with the Biden administration to discuss the disproportionate impact of federal student loan debt on Black women.
The advocacy groups, which include the NAACP, National Consumer Law Center, Association of Young Americans, Student Debt Crisis Center, Center for Responsible Lending, Hip Hop Caucus, Young Invincibles, and ACLU, call on the administration to cancel at least $50,000 in student debt per borrower as a solution to the student debt crisis, which has exacerbated gender and racial inequalities.
While President Biden’s recent decision to extend the moratorium on student loan repayment is appreciated by the groups, advocates maintain that the pause on payments is insufficient to address the magnitude of the crisis.
Shakya Cherry-Donaldson, Executive Director of 1000 Women Strong said “We don’t need more shallow praise for ‘saving’ the nation — we need Biden to cancel our student debt.”
Forty-four million Americans are currently saddled with $1.7 trillion in student loan debt — and Black women have been disproportionately impacted by the debt burden. Women hold the majority of national student debt, shouldering a total of $929 billion in student loans. Black women carry around 20% more student debt than their white counterparts — only one year after graduating, Black women owe an average of $41,466 in undergraduate loans, while white women owe just $33,851.
“As the weight of the student debt crisis crushes down on borrowers, it is clear that Black women are carrying a heavier load,” said Alpha Taylor, staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. “It is imperative that the Biden administration take swift action to address these disparities by upholding its promise to cancel student debt.”
This Black History Month, the advocacy groups will host a webinar to publicly discuss the impact of student debt on Black women with elected officials in support of debt cancellation. The webinar will be held on Wed., Feb. 2, from 6-7 pm ET and is open to the public.
Alisha Bell, Wayne County Commission Chai said, “Student loans are especially devastating for Black women because, even when highly educated and qualified, the data shows that we are still paid less than our white male counterparts.
Additionally, Black households may face the issue of incurring even more student loan debt for their children’s higher education expenses, which becomes a vicious cycle of generational student loan debt.”
Annalise Setorie, Director, Community Partnerships, NAACP said, “As the most educated demographic in America, Black women are disproportionately affected by student loan debt. That reality is compounded when you factor in the pay gap that continues to plague Black women in the workplace. We are at an inflection point with the exorbitant cost of student loans and rising higher education prices. The Biden administration must act swiftly on President Biden’s promise to cancel student debt.”
1000 Women Strong is a national hub for Black women organizing, where Black women advocate, educate, and mobilize around issues that impact our communities. The core of our mission is to uplift the voices of Black women from all backgrounds as change agents for justice and democracy.
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