Schumer says Biden’s ‘mind is open’ about student loan forgiveness

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Leah Mehlis | Reuters

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y. Wearing a mask that read “Student Debt Cancellation,” the labor movement on Wednesday joined him in his fight to get President Joe Biden to forgive $50,000 of federal student loan debt for each borrower. .

During a round table with the senator. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and union leaders including Randy Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, have said there is a wrong narrative about who would benefit from student debt cancellation.

“Let’s dispel a horrific myth here: This is not a problem for the rich or the Ivy League,” Schumer said. “All these fat cats, people who never want to see help for the workers and the poor come up with these myths.

“It affects the working class,” he added.

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The senator was talking about the arguments made by those who oppose canceling student debt on the grounds that college graduates are privileged with higher education and income.

Schumer also appears to be speaking directly to Biden, who has repeatedly coined student debt cancellation as a handout for the wealthy.

In a 2021 interview with New York Times columnist David Brooks, Biden said, “The idea that you go to the University of Pennsylvania and pay a total of $70,000 a year and have the public pay for it? I don’t agree.”

Those comments echoed earlier comments he made on CNN’s city council, where he said it didn’t make sense to cancel loans “for people who went to Harvard, Yale and Penn.”

The fact that Biden raised Ivy League schools when asked about tolerance has caused frustration among borrowers and advocates, who say it’s a myth that people with student debt — especially those who struggle with it — benefit from the prestigious education behind them.

In fact, only 0.3% of borrowed federal students are enrolled in Ivy League colleges, according to estimates provided to CNBC by higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz. The largest proportion of borrowers – 49% – came from public colleges.

Another quarter of borrowers attended for-profit schools, which have been heavily criticized for misleading students about programs and career outcomes, as well as for preying on veterans and people of color. Nearly half of those who take out student loans at these schools end up defaulting.

Recently, the White House was reported to be leaning toward a $10,000 per borrower cancellation plan, yet it is under pressure to go further.

The NAACP has been vocal about how $10,000 won’t be enough for black student loan borrowers, who have an average balance of more than $50,000 a few years after graduation.

Wisdom Cole, the national director of the NAACP’s Division of Youth and Colleges, recently posted on Twitter that refusing just $10,000 would be a “slap in the face.”

Meanwhile, the Biden administration is also grappling with the fact that the idea of ​​student debt forgiveness angers many Americans, including those who never borrowed for their education or went to college. Some Republicans said they would try to block the president’s attempt to cancel the debt.

On Wednesday, Schumer called on the labor movement to make student debt cancellation an issue that resonates “from one end of America to the other.”

“We’ve met President Biden on numerous occasions, and his mind is open to that,” Schumer told union leaders. “Let’s fight and carry on until we succeed in canceling $50,000 of student debt to America.”

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