Debt Forgiveness A Hard-Fought First Step

AAUP president Irene Mulvey made the following statement on Biden’s student loan forgiveness announcement.

President Biden’s long awaited announcement of a plan to alleviate the student debt of roughly twenty million Americans should be celebrated as a hard-fought first step toward reaffirming the purpose and promise of higher in our democracy. This transformative plan will go a long way toward narrowing the racial wealth gap which the student loan crisis has exacerbated.

The AAUP’s founding principles affirm that higher education exists to support the common good. An education should be accessible and affordable as a human right to anyone willing to seek it. President Biden’s action on student debt relief is a vital first step in addressing decades of disinvestment and underfunding of our public institutions of higher education.

The data on student debt makes it clear that people of color, especially women of color, are most heavily burdened and deserving of assistance. Four years after graduation, Black college graduates owe nearly twice as much as their white counterparts. For three quarters of Black borrowers, the student loan balance they owe today is greater than the original balance. It is hard to imagine this kind of injustice going unaddressed if it were directed at a white population.

The AAUP will continue to push for more actions and policies that alleviate student debt in ways that move us towards a more just and equitable society. We will continue to advocate for robust and sustainable public funding for public education in order to address the root cause of the student debt crisis and demand that higher education in our country lives up to its promise for everyone.

Publication Date: 
Friday, August 26, 2022