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Opinion: Big student loan debt is not a 'Harvard, Yale and Penn' problem

February 22, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20.1%. 1 min read.

Persis Yu writes that President Joe Biden's comments on student loan debt misconstrue who exactly holds the most student loan debt in the US, and does not go far enough in providing a solution.

(CNN)On the campaign trail, President Joe Biden promised to cancel at least $10,000 of federal student loans for all borrowers in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

When Biden was asked if he would cancel $50,000 of student debt for struggling borrowers at a CNN Town Hall last Tuesday, his answer unfortunately reflected some commonly held misconceptions about student loan borrowers.

As Biden acknowledged, for many borrowers, "Their education saddles them with so much debt it prevents them from buying a home or saving for retirement, or their parents or grandparents take on some of the financial burden. " Simply put, student loans already held families and the nation's economy back even before the current Covid-19 crisis.

Widespread student debt cancellation is needed to provide relief to the millions of borrowers who are struggling the most.

Importantly, while $10,000 of widespread student loan cancellation would clear the debts of nearly two-thirds of defaulted borrowers, $50,000 of widespread debt cancellation is needed to begin to address the racial wealth gap.

Moreover, providing relief to student loan borrowers is already targeted; it provides relief to only those who could not afford to access higher education without debt, and not to the "elite" -- like the 97% of Harvard College students -- who already graduate without debt.

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