Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

Students attend a graduation with the amount of money they owe in student loans on their caps.

Students attend a graduation with the amount they owe in student loan debt emblazoned on their caps. (Photo: YouTube/screenshot)

'Just Cancel the Debt,' Advocates Say as Biden Admin Develops Strategy for Restarting Student Loan Payments

Student debt cancellation "is good economic policy that will change the lives of millions of families," said Rep. Ayanna Pressley.

Julia Conley

Economic justice advocates on Monday expressed frustration at reporting that the Biden administration is examining ways to ensure "a smooth transition" for millions of Americans who will be required to begin making student loan payments at the end of January 2022—repeating a demand that President Joe Biden cancel student debt instead.
 
According to Politico, the U.S. Department of Education is working on several proposals to work with the country's 45 million student loan borrowers after the moratorium on payments—which began as the coronavirus pandemic started and which Biden extended after taking office—ends early next year.

"Student debt cancellation is a racial, economic, and inter-generational issue."

 
The department plans to target an outreach campaign to people considered "at risk" for missing payments, including those who were delinquent in their repayments prior to the pandemic, those who didn't graduate college, and people who recently started repaying their student debt.
 
The outreach campaign and other strategies being discussed as part of the department's "return to repayment" or "R2R" plan are "aimed at averting a surge in delinquencies when payments resume in February," according to Politico.
 
The grassroots campaign Debt Collective called the department's plans "morally bankrupt," calling on the administration to listen to the popular demand that it cancel student debt.
 
Focusing instead on strategizing a seamless return to repayments "is how you end up with a Trump (or worse) victory in 2024 with a filibuster proof GOP majority," said the group.
 
Other strategies the department is discussing include offering a three-month grace period to borrowers who miss payments, with those borrowers' credit scores being unaffected by late payments in the first 90 days after the moratorium ends; "Operation Fresh Start," which would pull seven million borrowers out of default; and a plan to allow borrowers to enroll in income-based repayment programs via phone "for a limited time."
 
Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) reiterated that Biden "can and must" cancel student debt—which legal experts agree he has the authority to do under Section 432(a) of the Higher Education Act—and noted that cancellation would be "good economic policy."
 
 
"The Congresswoman is exactly right," tweeted Debt Collective. "Student debt cancellation would boost our annual GDP by A LOT, help Black and brown households who are suffering the most, and alleviate the burden on our seniors who risk having their social security checks garnished for skyrocketing student loans."

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.

Kentucky Progressive Charles Booker Wins Democratic US Senate Primary

"We're going to beat Rand Paul," Booker confidently predicted, by "inspiring a vision that encourages people to believe things can be better."

Brett Wilkins ·


As Senators Try to Expand War Crimes Jurisdiction, Critics Ask if US War Criminals Count

"I've got names and addresses of American war criminals if any senators are interested," quipped veteran journalist Nick Turse.

Brett Wilkins ·


Climate Campaigners Demand Oxford, Cambridge Stop Taking Fossil Fuel Money

"This funding undermines climate justice, fueling the continued disproportionate harms of the fossil fuel industry on marginalized communities worldwide."

Julia Conley ·


Palestine Defenders Hail Rep. Tlaib's 'Historic' Nakba Resolution

"The time has come for the United States to correct an ongoing historical mistake it committed by recognizing the Palestinian Nakba, and to pressure Israel to respect American values that call for justice, equality, and freedom for all."

Brett Wilkins ·


Earth's Atmospheric CO2 Hasn't Been This High In Millions of Years

"Either we drive the fossil fuel industry into extinction—or the human race."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo