President Biden made a promise to cancel student debt for 40 million people. Luckily, he has several tools to deliver on debt relief. Inaction is not an option.
The repayment pause ends on October 1, 2023, and let it be known, the Department of Education data shows returning to repayment without cancellation will be even worse. Students want the opportunity to pursue higher education, but we have to make it accessible and equitable first.
You voted and rallied - and we've seen steps in student debt relief because of you. Let's keep going. Urge Biden to use his authority. Find resources, statistics, and stories below.
Make no mistake, the NAACP continues to pursue the cancellation of at least $50,000 of debt per borrower. As repayment approaches, we are excited to be a part of SAVE On Student Debt, a national campaign to spread the word about the Saving on A Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan. The SAVE plan will:
- protect more of a borrower's income for basic needs
- ensure that borrowers never see their balance grow due to unpaid interest as long as they keep up with their required payments.
- halve the share of income that goes to payments on undergraduate loans
Learn more about how you can SAVE with this new income-driven repayment plan.
This program forgives the remaining balance on a borrower's Direct Loans after making 120 qualifying monthly payments while working full-time for a qualifying employer. Qualifying employers include government organizations, non-profit organizations, and other eligible public service organizations. It's important to note that if a borrower has multiple type of federal student loans, that borrower would need to consolidate all loans first.
This plan bases the borrower's monthly payment on family size and discretionary income. Depending on these factors, borrowers could qualify for a lower monthly payment If a borrower still has a balance at the end of the repayment period, the remaining amount is forgiven. To learn more about IDR.
To qualify for this program, a borrower must be employed in certain public service sectors. These include employment in government agencies, the military, public schools or libraries, and non-profit organizations. A borrower may qualify for partial or full loan forgiveness.
This program forgives up to $17,500 in Direct Subsidized or Unsubsidized Loans or Subsidized or Unsubsidized Federal Stafford Loans for teachers who work full-time for five years at a qualifying school or educational service agency. Only certain subject areas are eligible for this program.
This program provides relief to student loan borrowers who have been deceived by their schools, allowing them to discharge their federal student loans. To be eligible, the misconduct that a borrower experienced must be directly related to the student loans taken out or the educational service for which the loan was provided.
This program cancels student loans for borrowers who were unable to complete their program due to school closure. Eligibility for the discharge is dependent on meeting certain criteria, including being enrolled at the time of the school closure or having the school close within 120 days after withdrawal. Qualifying loans include Direct loans, Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFEL) loans, and Perkins loans.
This provision forgives all federal loans, irrespective of whether they were awarded to the student borrower or the parent (e.g., Parent PLUS loans). Once the loan servicer receives proof of death, such as a death certificate, from a family member or a representative, the servicer initiates the process of discharging the loan. In the case of a private loan, the lender may have other provisions for discharging the loan in case of death.
To qualify for this discharge, a borrower must file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and also file a separate action called adversary proceedings, where the borrower must prove that repayment of loans would impose undue financial hardship. Not all student loans are eligible for discharge through bankruptcy. Federal student loans are generally not dischargeable, while private loans may be eligible.
A borrower may be eligible for this discharge if the borrower took out direct or FFEL loans and the school of attendance falsely certified the borrower's eligibility to receive the loan. The borrower must be able to demonstrate that the school of attendance falsely certified eligibility for the loan.
If a borrower has been certified as totally and permanently disabled, they apply for student loan discharge. In most cases, a borrower will need to provide medical documentation to verify their disability status. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Social Security Administration (SSA), or a physician can verify disability status and assist a borrower in applying for this loan discharge.
A borrower may be eligible for unpaid refund charges if they have withdrawn from school and the college attended fails to return the necessary funds to the loan servicer. This type of discharge is available for both Direct and FFEL loans.
We must hold those elected to their promises regarding the cancellation of student loan debt. This includes President Biden's Student Loan Debt Relief Plan which would forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt or $20,000 for those who received a Pell grant. Until then, we're providing updated information on the Supreme Court decision and encouraging Black borrowers to contact their student loan servicer to obtain the most accurate information on their loans and determine if they are eligible for any of the currently established loan forgiveness programs.
It's not just important that Black people have access to higher education, but also for Black people to have access to the financial education tools that promote healthy and sound financial decisions.
Join us on Thursday, September 28 at 7:00 PM ET for a back-to-school session on credit and how it impacts the Black community, college students, and those standing in the intersection of both identities. NAACP and TransUnion will supply you with crucial building blocks to aid your financial journey.
It's one thing to succeed as a community - it's another thing to thrive. The time is now. By becoming a member of NAACP, you'll join a network of activists standing up to demand the cancellation of student debt.
$10,000 of debt relief would eliminate student debt for only one-in-four Black borrowers and therefore blunt efforts to alleviate racial inequality. We advocate for the automatic cancellation of a minimum of $50k and discharging federal student loan debt for for-profit entities that no longer exist.
Collecting your stories helps us humanize the issue of student debt relief because it's not just about the policy. It's about the people who will be impacted. Help others understand the impact student debt has on individuals and the Black community as a whole.
Urge President Biden to Take Action and Cancel Student Debt to Close the Wealth Gap
There is no plan to close racial wealth gaps that does not include addressing the #StudentDebtCrisis. Student debt relief is a much-needed policy solution in the midst of this economic crisis.
Data suggest that cancellation policies beyond $50,000 would benefit all demographics, eliminate racial disparities in student debt, and boost our struggling economy. This will:
- Provide Black borrowers with opportunities to pursue homeownership
- Develop economy-boosting discretionary income
- Fuel upward mobility in the Black community and equitable efforts to close the racial wealth gap
Join other student borrowers and supporters calling for President Biden to take executive action to cancel federal student loans at a minimum of $50,000 without barriers or means-testing.
Advocacy is in our DNA. Grab the tools you'll need to help make student debt relief and affordable education a starting point to a more equitable future.
View the stories on how student debt has impacted the lives of student loan borrowers to understand the impact student debt has on individuals and the Black community as a whole.
Share your student debt story
Why did you go after a college degree? How has student debt impacted your life? What would the cancellation of student debt mean to you?
Student debt impacts real people and has daily consequences. Add your story to the growing collection of reasons elected officials need to act to cancel student debt.
Tasha A., Student Loan Borrower
"The student loan debt has made it impossible for me to help my oldest pay for college without having to borrow additional plus parent student loan debt. It prevents me from saving money, saving for my retirement, and the thought of having to pay student loan debt until the day I die stresses me and causes undue anxiety. "
Jesse P, Student Debt Organizer
"Student debt is stressful. I had student debt during school as well. It's holding me back from my financial goals."
Mahogany B., Student Loan Borrower
"I am currently homeless; my debt to ratio due to my student loan is to high to receive an affordable loan to purchase a home yet I do not qualify for affordable housing. One of my paychecks every two weeks does not even cover the average cost of living in California."
Canceling student debt would mean that I could live my life with decreased anxiety and hope for better opportunities.- Jessica C.
NAACP and Brookings have partnered on The Black Progress Index, a new analysis of the places where Black people are thriving most, as measured through their life expectancy. In the spirit of W.E.B. Du Bois, we're working to provide insight into the local civic actions that can improve life expectancy outcomes.
Let us know
What could you do if student loan debt was canceled?Share your plans
At 28 years old, I can't afford to start a family, I can't afford to buy a home, I can't afford to volunteer in my community, and I can't afford to go to the doctor. All of these things are now considered luxuries that I simply can't afford at this point in my life. All of my resources are dedicated to paying off student loans and interest rates.- Jessica P., Student Loan Borrower