Only 38% of young Americans support full student loan debt forgiveness: Poll | Education News

The vast majority of young Americans want government help to deal with the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis, but there’s no consensus among them on what that help should look like. .

In fact, a national poll published Monday by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics shows that only 38% support full debt cancellation – an action the Democratic Party’s progressive flank has been pressing President Joe Biden to take since his inauguration day.

Meanwhile, 27% favor the government helping repayment options without any debt cancellation, 21% favor debt cancellation for those who need it most and 13% think the government should not change the current policy.

While support for full cancellation has increased by 5 percentage points since 2020, preference for government reimbursement assistance has decreased by 8 points.

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The president has been determined to resist calls for student loan debt cancellation, despite growing pressure from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and the Progressive bloc in the House led by Representative Ayanna Presley of Massachusetts, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and others who both influence and energize young voters.

They argued that Biden has the executive power to forgive $50,000 in federal student loan debt and frame it not just as a way to relieve economic stress that disproportionately affects low-income black and Hispanic borrowers. , but also as a responsibility to the voters of color who were decisive for his election.

But Biden never supported comprehensive federal student loan debt cancellation, even saying during his campaign that while he could support canceling up to $10,000 in student loan debt, he didn’t think so. that the President had the power to do so. He also raised concerns about debt cancellation for borrowers who graduated from elite schools like Harvard – essentially buying into the idea that large-scale student debt cancellation often benefits wealthier borrowers. .

The lack of consensus found in the poll speaks to the strategy the White House adopted in its first year of granting loan forgiveness to certain groups of borrowers.

So far, the Biden administration has forgiven more than $17 billion in federal student loan debt for about 725,000 borrowers, including $8 billion for borrowers who became permanently disabled, $7 billion for borrowers enrolled in the Civil Service Loan Cancellation Program and more than $3 billion. for borrowers who were defrauded by their school or who were enrolled in ITT Technical Institutes before its abrupt closure.

“We’re working really, really hard where there’s clear authority to help borrowers,” James Kvaal, undersecretary for education, told reporters last week as he announced a new round of changes to federal education programs. repayment of student loans which should provide debt cancellation for 40,000 borrowers.

“Every day we are engaged in conversations about how to make programs work better and provide borrowers with the relief they are entitled to,” he said.

The poll, which is updated regularly and seen as an indicator of young voter turnout during election years, indicates that people between the ages of 18 and 29 are on track to match the record youth turnout of 2018 when midterm elections in November – and prefer Democratic control – but has also seen a surge in the number of young people believing that “political engagement rarely has tangible results”.

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