In a nation where universities have long been seen as a mechanism of upward social mobility, skyrocketing costs of attendance are making higher education increasingly inaccessible to low-income and middle-class families.
As a recent price-fixing scandal from 16 elite universities shows us, these institutions have long favored the wealthy while excluding low-income students from being admitted and accessing the socioeconomic benefits of a college degree. Many students fail to graduate because of financial obstacles – but even if they do, student loan debt traps them in poverty, forcing borrowers to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt over their lifetimes. In a desperate attempt not to fall behind, borrowers have sold their eggs, organs, and all their furniture; some still haven’t paid back what they owe in full.
As current students, we believe education should be a right for all people and understand that canceling student loan debt is one of the most impactful ways to mitigate economic and racial inequality in this country. It’s why we wrote a letter, calling on the Biden administration to cancel student loan debt, and why over 110 student body presidents, representing over 1.4 million students, have joined our call for change.
“Relieving student debt is a moral and economic imperative for the Biden Administration to take on, and must be done without delay,” the letter reads. “Canceling student loans will spur economic growth and entrepreneurship, expand educational opportunities, reduce dropout rates, close the racial wealth gap, and uplift millions of borrowers suffocated by $1.7 trillion in student loan debt.”