Harvard Affiliates Confused By Biden’s Position On Student Debt | New
Harvard students reacted with disappointment and frustration after President Joe Biden said on February 16 that he would not forgive more than $ 10,000 in federal student debt per borrower, naming Harvard as an institution that students do not need debt relief.
At a CNN town hall in Milwaukee, Biden said he was unwilling to respond to calls from the main Democrats to raise debt forgiveness to $ 50,000 per borrower. Biden also said he was unwilling to forgive the “billions of dollars in debt” for people who attended “Harvard and Yale and Penn”.
“I won’t make that happen,” Biden said in response to a member of the public who asked him what he would do to ask for a $ 50,000 debt relief.
Morgan R. Pratt, a master’s candidate in public policy at Harvard Kennedy School, said they feared Biden appears to be using his position “to actively push the people to the right” on the issue of debt cancellation.
“I understand that Biden has the power to act unilaterally on this issue,” Pratt said. “Using a town hall to sow doubt and discredit the position of the student loan forgiveness is really troubling to me, personally.
After the town hall, Democratic leaders renewed their calls for the administration to pursue more debt relief.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer ’71 (D.-NY) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) Urged Biden to relieve $ 50,000 in student loan debt per borrower, citing a constitutional precedent of widespread cancellation of debt through executive powers.
“The cancellation of $ 50,000 in federal student loan debt will help close the racial wealth gap, benefit the 40% of borrowers without a college degree and help stimulate the economy,” said they wrote in a joint statement on Feb. 17. time to act. We will continue to fight. “
In an email to The Crimson, an aide to Warren cited several analyzes that support the forgiveness of $ 50,000 in debt, including Brandeis University estimates that such relief would result in a complete forgiveness of the loan for more than 75% of households.
Jason E. Anesini, a third year PhD. chemistry candidate, said the net difference of $ 40,000 between Biden’s campaign pledge of $ 10,000 and Democratic senators’ proposal of $ 50,000 per borrower would make a “huge difference.”
“Getting rid of student loans definitely allows people to study disciplines that interest them, not necessarily thinking, ‘Well, what’s the job I get after I graduate? “, Did he declare. “I also think there is a real mental health risk that people take by carrying six figures of debt because of their undergraduate experience.”
Cassandra Luca ’21, a former editor-in-chief of Crimson Arts, said Biden should go further than forgiving $ 10,000 in debt per borrower and eradicating student loan debt in its entirety.
“It makes sense that if you want to have a strong middle class, you eliminate it,” she said. “President Biden made calls to wipe out $ 10,000 in student debt from everyone – I’d take it one step further and say we should just wipe it out, period.”
“It’s just a question of ‘If you have loans, should you forgive them? Luca added. “And I think the answer is yes.”
Eileen Connor – the legal director of the Predatory Student Loans Project at Harvard Law School – criticized Biden for his focus on students at elite institutions.
“The reality is that the majority of Harvard and elite school graduate students that the president mentioned in CNN’s town hall get zero student debt,” she wrote in an emailed statement. .
Connor wrote that the focus should be on another demographic: students in debt at for-profit colleges, some of whom she has represented in court.
“When we talk about student debt, people like our clients – who have gone to for-profit schools primarily to get vocation-specific certificates and associated degrees – get lost,” Connor wrote.
Ultimately, Pratt said they didn’t expect Biden to keep his debt relief campaign promises at all.
“I wouldn’t expect anything at this point,” added Pratt. “It makes me think he was just pressured to take this stance on student loans.”