President Joe Biden is expected to decide whether or not he’ll extend the national pause on student loan debt payments or completely cancel them by August 31. During Friday’s White House press briefing, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre claims the POTUS is taking the student debt crisis “very seriously.” Jean-Pierre said, “He understands the burden that student loans has on families, and so, he wants to make sure he is making a decision that is thoughtful,” before reiterating that his final decision will come at the end of the month.
As the White House contemplates its decision, NAACP’s National Director of Youth and College Wisdom Cole told The Grio, “Black borrowers are physically impacted by the weight that student debt has.” Cole continued, “Student debt is something that is causing a barrier for folks to get their lives started. For folks who are interested in becoming homeowners, business owners, or just being able to start a family. Student debt is something that weighs heavily on us.”
Cole asserted that students are “sold” a dream that they will land their dream job after pursuing a higher education, but “instead of that being the case, Black borrowers end up leaving college with an average of $53,000 in student debt.” The young activist proposed a feasible, immediate solution for those fighting the same fight. He said, “What do they want? What are you planning to ensure that student debt cancellation happens? What are you doing to ensure that you are being a vocal ally? A vocal supporter? A vocal candidate to ensure that you do all that you can to ensure this happens. We really need to make sure that candidates have plans and aren’t just telling us what we want to hear, but actually working to make it a reality.”
Cole thinks Biden failing to cancel the student loan debt will hurt him in the 2024 president election. He stated, “This is going to be another blow to young Black folks who have been supporting, who stepped out during the midst of the global pandemic and were working the polls and were coming out and ensuring their peers were turning out.”
Cole’s statement echoes the letter NAACP CEO and President Derrick Johnson wrote to Biden. Johnson wrote, “No American should have to begin paying back their predatory student loans next month. Yet, another simple extension on repayments won’t address the crisis.” Johnson spoke on the economic disadvantage Black communities have due to the student debt crisis. He continued, “It will not address the economic oppression that has plagued generations of Black families, and other minority communities, for decades and centuries.”