Student debt with sad face written on white sticky note on top of cash money with stack of money and coins
Duvalier Malone argues that the current administration is not talking enough about how student-loan debt is affecting millions of Americans. He says putting that debt on hold until 2022 will not be enough relief for those burdened financially. Photo by TheCrimsonRibbon on Unsplash

U.S. Lawmakers Must Cancel Student Debt to Reduce Inequality, Stimulate Economy

The Biden administration is planning to put student-loan debt on a “final” hold until Jan. 31, 2022. This is not enough for many people in the United States who are saddled with student-loan debt.

Numerous inequalities occurred as a result of the global pandemic—educational disadvantages of rural and inner-city school districts, dietary inequities, racial inequity and lack of health-care access. Many of us, including the current Biden administration, do not take the topic of student-loan relief seriously enough.

Student loans are something I had to learn the hard way while in college. My parents were both unemployed when I was born, so I grew up in poverty. As much as I value devotion and hard effort, I’ve learned from personal experience that there’s more to success than just those two things. I didn’t have the luxury of having parents who could save or pay for my education with their own money—I am a first-generation college student. Once I got to college, I took out student loans to progress in life like so many others.

We can’t stay silent on this subject in the wake of an epidemic, which has brought to light the enormous inequalities that many citizens endure across the country.


Parental Love, Hard Work Not Enough

What I’m about to say will likely offend many people as it goes against the popular belief that we’re all accountable for our own plight. In any case, I encourage you to continue reading since I want you to be familiar with and comprehend my story.

My parents divorced when I was a baby, so I was raised in a single-mother home on public assistance. We lived in one of the most destitute regions in Mississippi. Not only did we contend with poverty, but we also struggled with my father’s crippling mental condition. Because of his mental state, my father suddenly lost the ability to display his love and then abandoned us.

With everything falling apart around her, my mother was left to assemble everything as best she could while also providing for her children and keeping us safe. My mother did everything she could to ensure we were taken care of, and I will always be grateful for that.

My mother always pushed us to be the best we could be. Her love couldn’t heal my father’s mental illness. Her love could not keep food on the table or afford to send me to college debt-free, despite her best efforts.

Duvalier Malone writes that U.S. lawmakers must implement student-loan forgiveness programs for all Americans to both boost the economy while also helping students struggling to pay off their student loans. Photo by Alice Pasqual on Unsplash

Many Americans have similar stories, but have dedicated themselves to getting a higher education using the student loans to pay for education. However, after graduating from college, many lost their jobs due to unforeseen circumstances.

I graduated from college in 2008, and many of my former classmates are currently unemployed or working a career where their salary isn’t enough to cover both student-loan debt while supporting their families. To help the millions of Americans struggling with student debt, lawmakers must stop playing politics and start doing what is right for all Americans.

Delaying Student Debt Not Enough

Currently, the student loan debt is approximately $1.7 trillion in the United States. While the Biden administration is working on an infrastructure bill, Congress has made no preparations or progress to help the countless Americans in this country who are in debt. There is no student-loan forgiveness for 45 million American students, despite the fact that Democrats currently control the White House, the U.S.Senate and the House of Representatives).

All Americans, regardless of socioeconomic condition, should have access to high-quality education.

Joe Biden signing in his office
President Joe Biden’s administration plans to put student-loan debt on a “final” hold until Jan. 31, 2022, but Duvalier Malone writes that it isn’t enough. Cancel student debt altogether, he argues. Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez worked relentlessly in Congress to draft The Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019, which ensures outstanding federal and private student-debt forgiveness for all students, past and present, in our educational system. Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues want to free generations of Americans caught in student-loan debt and are unable to engage in the greater U.S. economy.

U.S. lawmakers must implement student-loan forgiveness programs for all Americans. This will positively affect the economy while also helping those  struggling to pay off their student loans. As a result, borrowers of student loans will have more money to invest, save for the future or start a business.

Lawmakers have become too far removed from the real issues affecting everyday Americans and need to be reminded of the student-loan crisis in this country.

If you have student debt, make a phone call to your legislators today and demand that they include a complete student-loan cancellation in the infrastructure package before voting and submitting the legislation for President Biden’s signature.

This MFP Voices essay does not necessarily represent the views of the Mississippi Free Press, its staff or board members. To submit an essay for the MFP Voices section, send up to 1,200 words and factcheck information to [email protected] We welcome a wide variety of viewpoints.

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