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More than a million Americans appeal to Biden to write off student debt

On the famous petition website Change.org, a petition was created calling on US President Joe Biden to write off the overwhelming debt of Americans on student loans. She has already collected over a million signatures. CNBC.

Photo: Shutterstock

Every day Austin Hossfeld types the same words into Google: "Biden" and "student loans."

“They are often the same articles,” said 26-year-old Hossfeld. - I reread them. In the evenings I talk about this to my wife. "

Like many Americans, the Carroll, Ohio resident is hungry for any new information on what President Joe Biden may decide to (if he chooses) about the $ 1,7 trillion Americans' outstanding student loan balance.

Recently an Internet search led Hossfeld to petitions on Change.org with an appeal to the president to write off all this debt.

Hossfeld signed it - and it already has over 1 million other signatures.

“It is a simple task to help the lives of millions of people,” he said.

On the campaign trail, Biden said he supported $ 10 student loans for all borrowers, but he recently asked the head of the Department of Education to prepare a memo on his legal authority to write off the total $ 000 debt for everyone. This came after the president faced growing pressure from other Democrats, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York and Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

More and more often, borrowers are demanding debt relief from the president.

Erin O'Brien, associate professor of political science at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, said the petition is likely to gain attention in the White House.

“Numbers matter,” she said. "This is what drives politicians."

The poll shows that two-thirds of Americans support some form of student debt cancellation. However, only 4 out of 10 believe that all debts should be written off.

Critics argue that the write-off will not boost the economy significantly, as college graduates tend to have higher incomes, which are more likely to be redirected towards savings rather than extra spending. Others say the write-off will be unfair to those who have already paid off student debt or have never taken out a loan. These borrowers "may feel like their frugality is being punished," Bloomberg columnist Noah Smith recently wrote.

On the subject: What debts you will never forgive in the United States, even if you declare yourself bankrupt

Advocates argue that borrowers were already struggling before the public health crisis - more than one in four had delays or defaults - and that after more than a year of record high unemployment, that pain has only intensified.

“Prior to the onset of the public health crisis related to the Covid-19 coronavirus, student debt was already a drag on the national economy, particularly affecting black and Hispanic communities, as well as women,” more 400 organizations, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Psychological Association.

"The administrative cancellation of the debt will ensure real progress towards racial justice, economic recovery and campaign priorities against Covid-19," the letter said.

Hossfeld and his wife Hailey owed about $ 50 in student loans.

He graduated from Dominican University in Ohio in 2017 with a degree in computer science and is now a laboratory technician. He finds the job boring and wants to become a teacher instead.

But he is afraid to go back to school and run into debt.

“I feel stuck in place,” he said.

He and his wife would like to have a child, but are worried that they will not be able to afford the costs of childcare and health when they have to pay $ 800 a month to pay off student debt.

“Let's talk about incentives,” Hossfeld said if Biden would forgive their debt.

“Eight hundred dollars a month would be amazing for me,” he said. “It would allow me to start a family and find another job. I dream about it".

"It was depressing."

Christine Angelique from Portland, Oregon signed the petition on Change.org after her mother sent her the link.

The remainder of her student debt is over $ 168.

Since earning her degree in interior design from the Portland Art Institute in 2010, Angelique has been unable to find a full-time job. The commercial college network has been criticized for misleading students about their programs and career outcomes.

“I ended up working a lot of seasonal and part-time jobs,” said Angelique, 43. "It was depressing."

You may be interested in: top New York news, stories of our immigrants and helpful tips about life in the Big Apple - read it all on ForumDaily New York

In 2017, she filed for bankruptcy due to credit card debt she said she had saved up to cover bills and necessities without a stable and adequate salary. During the trial, she was unable to pay off her student loans.

With the coronavirus pandemic, things have only gotten worse. In March 2020, she was fired from her job at the hotel and has not had a job since then. Some of her student loans are currently outstanding.

Six-figure debt makes her feel hopeless, even though she knows she's not alone.

“I even told my mother:“ I would not be surprised if the number of suicides increases, ”she admitted. “You just feel trapped. How can you move forward in life with such debts? "

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Miscellaneous In the U.S. petition student loans student debt
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