U.S. Student Borrowers Spark Social Media Outcry for Loan Pause
(Bloomberg) -- The Biden administration faces a growing backlash on social media for refusing to further extend a moratorium on student loan payments.
The White House said this week that the administration is sticking to its plans of letting the Covid-19-related mortarium expire at the end of January. On Tuesday, the hashtag #studentloanforgiveness gained momentum, with social-media users sharing their student loan stories and accusing President Joe Biden of breaking a campaign promise to borrowers.
U.S. student loan debt currently totals $1.75 trillion, and is held by 43.2 million borrowers, according to the Education Data Initiative. The burden falls hardest on women, who hold 58% of the national student loan debt, and minorities. Black women have an average of $37,600 in student debt, higher than any other group, according to the group.
“Forty-one million borrowers have benefitted from the extended student loan payment pause, but it expires February 1, so right now we’re just making a range of preparations,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing on Monday.
The moratorium has been extended multiple times since the Trump administration first paused federal student loan payments in March 2020, when the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic caused financial challenges for workers. According to a November survey of 33,073 student loan borrowers by the Student Debt Crisis Center, almost 90% of respondents said they weren’t financially stable enough to resume their payments.
In social-media posts on Tuesday, people recalled that Biden voiced support during the 2020 presidential campaign for Congress to cancel as much as $10,000 worth of student loan debt. Though Biden indicated in February that he still supports the measure, Psaki said it is still up to Congress to introduce a bill to that effect. Senators Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Mondaire Jones, have pressured the president to cancel up to $50,000 of federal student loan debt.
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