Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

This graduate of Pasadena City College is one of nearly 46 million borrowers in the U.S. weighed down by $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

This graduate of Pasadena City College is one of nearly 46 million borrowers in the U.S. weighed down by $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. (Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

60% of US Voters Support Biden Canceling $50,000 of Student Loan Debt Per Person: Poll

Economist Mike Konczal describes student loan debt as "an albatross around the neck of an entire generation."

Kenny Stancil

Sixty percent of registered voters support President-elect Joe Biden canceling up to $50,000 of student loan debt per person, according to new polling by Hill-HarrisX. 

As Common Dreams has reported, pressure is mounting on Biden to immediately cancel student loan debt upon taking office in January, a move that is within his power and that progressives say is a sure-fire way to improve working people's lives amid a crushing economic crisis. 

The survey, conducted online among a representative sample of U.S. voters between November 17-19, shows that a majority of the nation's electorate is in favor of forgiving at least some of the $1.7 trillion in student loan debt that nearly 46 million Americans collectively owe, which left-leaning economic analyst and Roosevelt Institute director Mike Konczal calls "an albatross around the neck of an entire generation."

Views on Biden ameliorating the student loan crisis by canceling up to $50,000 of debt per person vary based on a number of political and demographic characteristics. 

Democrats (84%) and Independents (57%) are more likely than Republicans to support the measure, with 66% of GOP voters opposed to the idea.

The strength of support for student debt cancellation corresponds with age. Seventy-three percent of 18-34 year-olds, the youngest cohort of voters, are in favor of the proposal, along with 68% of 35-49 year-olds, 50% of 50-64 year-olds, and 46% of voters 65 and older. 

Voters of color (83% of Black voters; 74% of Hispanic voters) are more likely than white voters (53%) to support Biden canceling up to $50,000 in student loan debt per person, although a majority of voters across racial categories endorse the move. 

Contrary to the notion that student loan debt cancellation is a policy that is only beneficial to and favored by an elite intelligentsia, the survey shows that support for the measure is consistent regardless of educational attainment and income.

Fifty-nine percent of voters with less than four years worth of university credits support up to $50,000 of student loan debt forgiveness per person compared with 60% of those who have obtained a college degree. Meanwhile, 60% of voters with annual incomes under $75,000 support the measure, compared with 59% of voters who are paid more than $75,000 per year. 

While this snapshot of voter opinion on a student loan debt jubilee is encouraging to the left, "it's not enough to point to poll results showing that robust majorities support progressive policies in the abstract," Astra Taylor, author and anti-debt organizer, cautioned recently.

"Survey results are not solidarity, which can only be built through the hard work of organizing," Taylor asserted. 


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Truss' Tories Plan to Slash Public Spending While Clinging to Chaos-Causing Tax Cuts

"When the IMF tells you, 'hang on guys, this is going to be so bad for inequality it needs a rethink,' you've got a serious problem," one U.K. activist said of the new mini-budget.

Jessica Corbett ·


Sanders, Kaine Hail US Senate's Passage of Brazil Election Resolution

"It is important for the people of Brazil to know we're on their side, on the side of democracy," said Sen. Bernie Sanders. "With passage of this resolution, we are sending that message."

Brett Wilkins ·


Highland Park Victims Sue Gun-Maker, Stores Over Negligence and Deceptive Practices

Lawyers argued that the "shooter was the type of a young consumer susceptible to Smith & Wesson's deceptive and unfair marketing, and was enabled by his father."

Julia Conley ·


NC Dems Plead for Cash as Beasley Deadlocked With GOP Opponent in Decisive US Senate Race

Democratic nominee Cheri Beasley has a one-point lead, but Trump-backed U.S. Rep. Ted Budd is getting more support from the Republican Party.

Kenny Stancil ·


'Yeah, Right': Pentagon Report Claiming US Military Killed Just 12 Civilians Last Year Met With Skepticism

"Once again the confirmed civilian casualty count is below what communities on the ground are reporting," lamented Emily Tripp, director of the monitor group Airwars.

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo