Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is working to get President Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt.
In a conference phone call on Thursday with a variety of New York college students, Schumer discussed his plans to have Biden cancel student loan debt, citing its impact on people of color during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Federal [and federally backed] student loans are becoming a forever burden,” Schumer said. “It affects people in our state and nationally, especially in New York. This is [also] a racial justice issue — 28 percent of the wealth gap between whites and African Americans is due to student loans. One-third of Latinx borrowers are more likely to default their payments, as whites are more likely to borrow smaller payments than Blacks.”
Schumer added that student loan cancellation does not just benefit students but benefits the New York state community as a whole.
“A New York City student holds more than $38,000 in student loan debt,” Schumer said. “A New York state student holds more than $40,000. If we were to forgive this debt, it would be huge as it gives a huge boost to our economy. People would be able to use the money that is spent on student loans to go out to restaurants or do other leisurely activities.”
Schumer said he partnered with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in his efforts to cancel student debt, and Biden was originally planning to cancel only up to $10,000 in student loan debt.
“I met with [Biden] and [Warren], and the president said he’d consider the plan,” Schumer said. “So we’re going to mount a campaign to get him to cancel the student loan debt.”
Throughout the call, Schumer said he has received support, as the majority of all student loan types would be covered under the plan. He also urged people to contact Biden about the matter, as he stated he will be looking toward trying to lower the cost of college in the future.
“200 student organizations have come out in support of our plan for the president to cancel the debt,” Schumer said. “93 percent of all loans fit under our plan, [as] we are also looking at plans to reduce the costs of college in a variety of ways. [People should contact the Biden] to take administrative action and cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt.”
Jacques Rodenbach, president of Binghamton University’s College Democrats and a senior majoring in accounting, said the call was very opportune and signifying of a promising chance to help the student community with their burden of debt.
“It was so great to hear from [Schumer] today,” Rodenbach said. “We are incredibly fortunate as a state to be represented by a Senate majority leader who cares so deeply about the needs and concerns of all his constituents. [Schumer’s] push to relieve $50,000 in student debt for federal student loan borrowers would provide tremendous relief to the 2.4 million New Yorkers who combined owe nearly $90 billion in student loans. Today’s call is hopefully the start of a transformative movement that will finally provide relief to the millions struggling with student loan debt.”
Adam Garcia, an undeclared freshman, attended the conference call and said he appreciated Schumer embracing a left-wing policy stance and hearing students’ concerns and hoped Schumer would move forward with his plans to get Biden to complete it.
“I felt that the call was informative,” Garcia said. “It’s definitely a surprise to see [Schumer] shift to the left on a policy, such as student debt, where the President wants [to cancel] $10K, while [the Senator himself] is going all the way for $50K debt cancellation. I thought it was great that [Schumer] was able to listen to students and considering the high position of power he holds now, [as I] hope he continues to pressure the Biden administration to cancel student debt.”
Ryan Feeney, a junior majoring in biochemistry, also attended the call. He said the call was his first time being able to speak to a congressional member, as he had felt comforted with Schumer’s willingness to go forward with his plan that Feeney believes is an important issue.
“This is the first time I’ve ever spoken to a representative in any capacity, and it feels great to know [Schumer is] willing to fight for his constituents,” Feeney said. “I’ve always been in favor of making higher education as easy to pursue as possible, so Schumer’s push for increasing student debt forgiveness was very important to me. The fact that millions of New Yorkers are made to owe a collective $90 billion for something as crucial as a degree is abominable, especially in the midst of a nationwide pandemic. My hope is that Schumer and Senate Democrats are successful in their push to end this crisis, and the states poorest are lifted for it.”