President Biden’s Student Debt Relief is a Good First Step, We Must Go Further and Correct the Underlying Problem
Alan Minsky for the PDA National Team
President Biden’s Student Debt Relief will Help Millions of Households, but just as many remain drowning in debt. The exorbitant cost of higher education, which has produced so much misery, will continue unabated. The only just solution is Universal Student Debt Cancellation combined with Tuition-Free Public College
The ever-increasing cost of higher education in America since the 1970s has had devastating consequences for millions of poor, working- and middle-class Americans. Told that attaining a degree is essential for success, more students went further and further into debt as the cost of college skyrocketed—and then they discovered there simply weren’t enough high-paying jobs to go around. It wasn’t the American Dream at the end of the education rainbow, but rather a life of debt peonage.
Given the political realities of the moment, we applaud President Biden’s Executive Order providing $10,000 of Debt Relief to all student debt holders making less than $125,000 a year, and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. We, of course, want more, much more, because of the fundamental injustice of the economics of higher education in America.
Over the past five years, PDA has been at the front of the student debt cancellation movement. We founded the Cancel Student Debt Campaign in 2018 along with the country’s two leading advocacy organizations for universal debt student debt cancellation: The Debt Collective and Freedom to Prosper. At the time, student debt cancellation was a marginal issue. Bernie Sanders had not endorsed it in 2016, but, thanks in part to our pressure, he supported universal cancellation in 2020, helping to elevate the issue tremendously.
Once President Biden was inaugurated and the Democrats had razor-thin majorities in both houses, we knew action on student debt would require a non-stop pressure campaign. So, today, we especially want to thank all the activists who never relented, and who will continue, along with PDA, to demand universal student debt cancellation and the establishment of tuition-free public colleges and universities across the land.
Please support PDA in our efforts to establish a truly just and accessible Higher Education system for all citizens and residents of the United States.