Should we ease the crushing burden of student debt?

One of President Joe Biden’s first actions was to extend the suspension of student loan payments until October.

Biden also supported the cancellation of up to $ 10,000 in student loan debt. Some Democrats, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have been pushing for forgive even more – up to $ 50,000 per borrower.

But is blanket student loan forgiveness the best way to help borrowers who need it most?

The majority of student debt is owed by people with higher education degrees and by people with relatively high incomes. Analysis revealed that almost 60% of America’s educational debt is owed by households belonging to the richest 40 percent, with an annual income of $ 74,000 or more. Meanwhile, people who fail to repay their loans are more likely to not have a degree, earn low incomes, and have attended private, for-profit colleges.

Black borrowers are among the hardest hit by debt. A study by Brandeis found that 20 years after graduating, the median white borrower had paid off 94% of their student debt, while the median black borrower still owed 95% of their student debt.

MPR News host Kerri Miller answered calls from listeners and spoke to two consumer advocates on the student loan crisis.


  • Ashley harrington is the Federal Director of Advocacy and Senior Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending.

  • Seth Frotman is Executive Director of the Student Borrower Protection Center and a former Student Loans Ombudsman at the Consumer Protection Agency.

To listen to the entire conversation, you can use the audio player above.

Subscribe to the MPR News podcast with Kerri Miller on: Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

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