For Morgan R. Pratt, a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Kennedy School, a daunting obstacle stands between them and their dream of pursuing a career in climate https://guaranteedinstallmentloans.com/payday-loans-ma/ activism following graduation – student loan debt.
I have a lot of student loan debt and a really high propensity to do something in the public service industry, Pratt said. Right now, I have this huge incentive to just follow in the footsteps of my classmates and get a consulting gig – which would help eliminate my student loan debt, but put me into this workspace that creates all these perverse incentives.
Essentially, I’d be exacerbating the problems I really want to solve. Or I can just toil away and put myself in a bad place financially, they added.
Pratt is not alone. This past year, the total amount of student loan debt for Americans hiked to roughly $1.7 trillion dollars across more than 43 million U.S. borrowers. President-elect Joe Biden pledged multiple times on the campaign trail to alleviate debt, claiming that representatives should forgive a minimum of $10,000/person of federal student loans, according to a tweet on .
Recently, Biden also said he plans to extend the student debt forbearance program, building on a previous extension by former Secretary of Education Betsy D. DeVos scheduled to expire Jan. 31. Many of Biden’s supporters, however, remain skeptical as to whether the incoming administration will deliver on its promise to alleviate the financial anxiety facing millions of Americans.
Joshua H. Berry ’21, who said he has supported Biden since the beginning of the presidential race, said the president-elect has vacillated on his policies. It remains to be seen, according to Berry, whether or not Biden will act on his verbal pledge.
Charting the Best Path Forward
To some, Biden’s pledge to cancel up to $10,000 of student debt per borrower is by no means enough. Brandon J. Mancilla, a current Ph.D. candidate in the History department and president of the Harvard Graduate Student Union-United Automobile Workers, said the singular best step forward for the administration is complete student debt cancellation.
When we talk about millennials and Gen Z, we’re talking about people going into their 20s, 30s, and 40s. These are people who can get a house, get a car, invest in property, he said. The more ambitious programs and proposals are the ones worth considering. 10,000 is not enough. 50,000 is great as a compromise position – I’m a little wary of going for 50,000 and then settling for far less.
Ryan Zhang ’21 also emphasized that $10,000 should just be the first step, and that more aggressive policies will be needed to address the economic and racial inequality underlying issues of debt.
Biden’s plan is infinitely better than what we have right now under Secretary DeVos and President Trump. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough, he said. There are people like Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren – Democratic progressives who have advocated for cancelling much more than just $10,000, up to $50,000. That level of response is what we need right now.
Others contend that swift debt cancellation through executive powers is the most effective step forward. Legal Director at the Project on Predatory Student Lending Eileen Connor said Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris will not need to wait for Congressional action to make a difference for millions of former students and their families in a press release dated .
Will Joe Biden Deliver on His Promises to Alleviate Student Loan Debt?
Connor highlighted that the use of executive powers to cancel student loan debt would prove particularly beneficial for borrowers of color.