In 2018, the median household income in the US was $61,937. For African American households, income was $41,692 — the lowest among all racial and ethnic groups. Longstanding structural racism has compounded the COVID-19 crisis. When it comes to relief, people of color are last in line. Despite four congressional stimulus bills, federal aid has not trickled to the places of greatest need.
- African American borrowers face high default rates, 5 times the rate of white borrowers, due to the systemic problem of income inequality.
- 86.6% of African Americans borrowed federal loans to attend four-year colleges, far more than their white counterparts.
- African American borrowers pay back education debt at a rate of 4% a year, lagging 6 percentage points behind their white counterparts.
- Graduates of HBCUs take on 32% more debt than their peers.
Addressing the most challenging economic realities including poverty, lack of jobs and disproportionate high unemployment, lack of affordable housing, and foreclosures.
Tell Congress: eliminate student debt to address economic disparities
The NAACP is for:
- Suspension of payment of student loans until the economy gains strength. Using the unemployment rate as a key indicator, the suspension shall remain in place until the unemployment rate falls to an average percentage based on the prior 10 years index of labor force activities for direct loans, Perkins loans, and Federal Family Education loans owned by the U.S. Department of Education.
- Discharge student loans for essential workers. Those who were qualified or eligible to qualify for the student loan forgiveness program as of the current year and all essential workers as defined herein shall be eligible for complete and automatic discharge of undergraduate debt. For purposes of this provision the eligible class shall include the following workers:
- Doctors, nurses other health care, including home care
- Grocery and drug store
- Federal, state, and municipal employees
- Teachers and child care
- Support automatic cancellation of a minimum of $20,000 of federal student loan debt.
- Discharge federal student loan debt from for-profit entities that no longer exist.
Learn how NAACP is addressing the most urgent issues on building an inclusive economy to end racial inequality.
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