Why we (still) need to solve the student loan debt crisis – The Daily Texan
Editor’s Note: This column was submitted to Texan by a member of the UT community.
A few weeks ago, on September 20, along with 33 other student leaders and activists, I sent a letter calling on President Biden to forgive at least $50,000 in student loan debt. The signatories to the letter represent important organizations such as student governments, college NAACPs, and political organizations that advocate for students. Collectively, we represent over 757,000 students on campuses across the country.
As Assembly President representing the student body in student government, I feel I have a moral obligation to join with our student leaders and activists in organizing and lobbying the Biden administration so that it grants financial aid to students. That’s why a few members of student government and I wrote a resolution joining other campuses in urging the president to address this issue.
This is not the first time that the president has tried to cancel a debt. In August of this year, President Biden canceled $10,000 for non-Pell Grant borrowers and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant borrowers to increase federal support for higher education high awards. While that alone is extremely incredible, I still believe that more can and should be done as borrowers collectively catch up $1.6 trillion in debt: It’s unsustainable.
According to a 2020 report, the average amount of debt for a UT graduate is approximately $22,149. When we consider the amount of debt our fellow foreigners or internationals pay more tuition, we find that this debt relief clearly does not go far enough. Nevertheless, I encourage everyone here to to apply for federal aid relief. In its current structure, it has the potential to erase a substantial portion of the debt of thousands of Longhorns. However, it is also important to recognize that broader relief is still needed.
When emergency relief funds for higher education were distributed from the US bailout at the worst of the pandemic in 2021, it had a huge positive impact here on campus. Like this fund, providing money to students is a good thing and broad student debt forgiveness will ease the burden of debt incurred by Longhorns who have not taken full advantage of the current plan. By canceling $50,000 in student loan debt, we have a real opportunity to close the wealth gap, expand educational opportunities and benefit communities that have been historically marginalized.
As the late John F. Kennedy said, “If not us, who? If not now when?” This crisis is seriously affecting past, present and future students and, just like other issues ranging from climate change to women’s rights, action is needed now. As student leaders and activists, we are collectively resolved to intervene to ensure that the issue of student debt is addressed and we will continue to advocate for the best possible way to benefit not only our fellow Longhorns, but everyone.
Roberts is a senior government official from Fort Worth, Texas.