Biden expected to write off student loan debt through executive order
The opinions expressed in the opinion columns are those of the author.
While reducing student loan debt is not currently high on the Biden administration’s agenda, it should still be seen as a priority. As the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major economic recession, there is growing support for forgiveness or reversal of this major financial burden. President Joe Biden ran on student loan forgiveness, and it’s time to keep that promise. Biden must use an executive order to write off student loan debt for millions.
It is legal and constitutional. Many Democrats have cited specific procedural rules this would allow Biden to use executive power to write off student loan debt. In addition, it is necessary because Congress will not be able to act on the issue through legislation. Clearly, Republicans in the House and Senate would not agree to write off any type of debt for individuals, let alone student loan debt, so Biden would have to bypass them entirely with an executive order. Bipartyism is almost non-existent at the 117th Congress, and that won’t change anytime soon. The president might as well take charge and act on his electoral mandate, which has been propelled by young people, women and people of color.
The government generally prioritizes the interests of the elderly over those of the young. But young voters turned out in record numbers during the 2020 election cycle; clearly, young people are gaining an even greater share in politics. Now, there is no excuse for not responding to their interests. Beyond electoral reasons, Americans between the ages of 19 and 34 make up approximately 21.2 percent of this country’s population. Reducing or canceling student debt would ease their burden of paying loans and interest for years or decades, allowing them to participate more fully in the economy.
People entering the workforce for the first time, entering new fields, or recovering from COVID-induced unemployment face one of the worst job markets in American history. Forgiving some of the student loan debt would at least make things easier. Even if these people find it difficult to find a job, they will not be crippled by a large number of debts.
Women and people of color are disproportionately affected by student debt. Women Four-year public college graduates owe an average of $ 29,611 and account for two-thirds of the nation’s total student loan debt. Blacks and African Americans have an averageage of $ 52,000 in student loan debt. These groups played an important role in Biden’s election to the presidency; according to an exit survey, 57 percent of women, 87 percent of black voters, 65 percent of Hispanic and Latino voters, and 61 percent of Asian voters voted for him. Biden has pledged to ensure fairness and help marginalized groups – here is an effective way to contribute and keep his election promise.
Biden is expected to pass an executive order to cancel or reduce existing student loan debt. And while this is an important step to take right now, it still essentially comes down to putting a band-aid on a larger problem. Biden also needs to look more broadly at actions to reduce the need for these loans in the first place. Working to make colleges more affordable and increase federal student aid and scholarships would solve the root problem – and prevent student loan debt from hurting future generations.
But these larger reforms and changes will take a long time. This decree is something Biden can do quickly. He said he would reduce student debt, and if there is time to do it, now is. Reducing or canceling student loan debt through executive action is necessary, and it is very doable. He can completely change people’s lives with this little action. It should be obvious.
Courtney Cohn is a second year journalism and double major student in government and politics. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.