Media Contact: Christopher Chavis
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 25, 2022
Los Angeles, CA – The National Lawyers Guild – Los Angeles (NLG-LA) has strong concerns regarding President Joe Biden’s most recent plan regarding student debt relief. While we applaud $10,000 of debt relief as a first step, this action does not go far enough and does not do enough to address the underlying systemic issues that drive the student debt crisis.
Black and Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC) are most acutely affected by the student loan crisis. These statistics are staggering. According to the Education Data Initiative, Black
graduates owe $25,000 more on average than white graduates. Further, American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) graduates owe the highest monthly payment amounts on average. While we acknowledge and appreciate that Pell Grant recipients will receive $20,000 in debt relief, the proposed forgiveness amounts do not address these underlying inequities.
This issue is especially important in high cost of living areas, such as Los Angeles, where people are already stretching their paychecks to pay for housing. Any dollar spent towards student loan repayment is a dollar that could be used for housing or other necessities. Many students from low-income communities pursue an education in order to serve their communities as teachers, social workers, lawyers, and in other capacities. Students who lack intergenerational wealth should not be penalized for attending college in order to better themselves and their communities. While we acknowledge the President’s plan to further cap the percentage of a person’s income that must be used to repay student loan debt, more needs to be done to remedy the problem.
Christopher Chavis, NLG-LA’s Executive Director said: “The Biden Administration has taken an important first step in addressing the student loan crisis but we do want to emphasize that this is only the first step and more needs to be done to address the underlying systemic issues that are driving this crisis. We look forward to seeing the President’s next steps.”
President Biden must take more aggressive steps to address the student loan crisis, including full forgiveness of student loan debt and a push towards making higher education available free of charge. Access to opportunity should not be cost prohibitive to anyone and knowledge must not be commodified.
About the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles
The National Lawyers Guild (NLG) of Los Angeles seeks to unite lawyers, law students, legal workers and jailhouse lawyers to function as an effective force in the service of the people, to the end that human rights shall be regarded as more sacred than property interests. For more information, please visit nlg-la.org.