Student loan debt in America is a social catastrophe that has been crippling millions with debt. This increasing deficit has topped $1.8 trillion of costs in recent years, which has made it the largest type of outstanding consumer debt other than mortgages. Student debt resistance represents the U.S.'s most active and well-coordinated strike yet (x). Recently President Biden made the decision to postpone payments till May 1, 2022 (Department of Education). We propose more definitive solutions for student debt here.

Consumers now owe more on their student loans than their credit cards. Troubling data reveals how student debt has tripled since 1970, and grown 602% in less than 20 years (Education Data Initiative).

The average student loan borrower graduates with nearly $40,000 of debt (Education Data Initiative), and pays over two decades. Black degree recipients can face twice the amount as their non-white colleagues within four years. They also could earn $27,000 in comparison (Inequality.org). A $50,000-$100,000 price tag is an unfair reality for too many enrollees who were promised a better future through education. Where does the money go?


A $40,000 tuition includes college facilities like dormitories, the courses plus staff salary. Those funds unfortunately also support duplicate departments and tenurial preference at some universities. Mismanagement is even harder to justify during a pandemic when millions were virtual off-campus learners. Some students received notices to cover unexpected finances without much warning. Administrative costs actually rose despite emptier colleges and the CARES Act.

Take St. John's University in Queens, New York, with a 3% tuition hike: $1,000 higher than 2019-2020's academic year with a $200 late fee. Students were incited to protest for their rights, and international applicants who awaited uncertain aid (The Torch).

"This is a direct financial attack and injustice, especially to low-income/housing insecure students, students with disabilities, Black, Brown, Indigenous students, unable to afford these egregious costs due to a global pandemic," their statement read and it is an accurate analysis. Marginalized attendees are penalized for their socioeconomic status during a public health crisis.

Howard University faced a similar pair of scandals on two occasions. The latest 2021 semester is not an isolated issue. Housing deposits were submitted despite gentrification and lack of livable university apartments. Six financial aid department employees embezzled almost $1 million in 2018. Students were furious and immediately organized sits-in as the grassroots network HU Resist (WorkersWorld).

Three years later, they rallied again to improve overall conditions at Howard University (DCist, 10-26-21). The Fall 2021 student protests succeeded after a month (ABC). Howard's protests are continual resistance against deeply embedded corruption. The same can be said for America's biggest strike in history: Columbia University student workers who refuse low pay at a university for profit.

Potential and existing students deserve a guarantee that their future is progressive, and not tied to a loan. We must be honest that such disparities can be life or death if leadership does not prioritize them in time. Rep. Ayanna Pressley urges executive action on student debt because this reality is already here.

"President Biden has the legal authority to cancel billions in student debt with the stroke of a pen and he must meet the moment by using that authority, which would not only set us on a path to an equitable recovery, but would also help reduce the racial wealth gap," Rep. Pressley stated in their bipartisan legislation alongside Reps. Adams and Omar, Sens. Schumer and Warren (Senate)


There are plans to approach student debt that should be highlighted! According to the following report (referenced in a letter from Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) to the White House), if Biden stuck to his plan to restart student loan payments on February 1, 2022, the budgets of more than 18 million borrowers would have taken a collective hit of roughly $7 billion per month.

Consequently, their debt would drain $85 billion from the U.S. economy next year. By contrast, if the President cancelled $50,000 in student loans per person, which he has the legal authority to do, it potentially adds more than $173 billion to the nation's GDP in the first year alone! (Common Dreams, 12-8-21) And Black Americans' median wealth would increase by 40%.

In a letter to President Biden, the SBPC and over 200 organizations representing millions of students, workers, people of color, veterans, people with disabilities, and people of faith, called on the Biden administration to extend the pause on student loan payments scheduled to resume for millions of borrowers on January 31, 2022.

Even before the Covid 19 pandemic began, student debt was already dragging down the national economy. But now that weight is exacerbated by the toll of Covid 19. What is extra harmful is that student debt cannot be discharged by bankruptcy. The fact that these loans are not dischargeable through bankruptcy is a uniquely harsh measure that even gambling and credit card debt is not subject to.

During the Biden Presidential Campaign, Biden made 2 promises on canceling student debt. On the campaign trail, Biden said he would cancel $10,000 in student debt per person. He also said he would cancel debt for undergraduates from public colleges and historically black colleges and universities. (Business Insider, 4-7-21). Bold action is needed to protect student borrowers.

Also, the biggest name in the student loan business, Navient, is also exiting the industry. This could be a portent of further turbulence ahead for borrowers. It's time for action. We have posted letters and resolutions below which urge the President to solve student debt. Collective pressure produced results. The momentum created a new possibility (Common Dreams, 12-21-21).

Now the Education Department will postpone payments on student loans till May 1st, 2022 (CNN). This was not possible without massive organizing and people power. Hope remains for student borrowers and the United States. 178 related bills reached Congress' floor in 2021 (The Progressive, 12-21-21). Change is arriving one way or another. Progressive proponents are not budging on student debt elimination altogether. One monumental step was taken and more must follow.

Hip Hop Caucus's Cut It - Cancel Student Debt Rally repeated the importance of racially conscious policy in economics, January 20th. CODEPINK, The NAACP, the National Black Justice Coalition and others were with them. This historic moment pressures Biden's administration to act definitively on debt cancellation! You can watch the event here VIDEO.

"On May 1, student loan payments will restart. President Biden should extend the suspension for as long as we are in this pandemic. We are calling for the cancellation of the $1.6+ trillion in student debt held by 46 million Americans, and we support Congressional leaders’ calls for President Biden to cancel $50,000 of student debt per borrower." (Hip Hop Caucus)

We support Senator Elizabeth Warren and others in their demands for the President to use executive action to cancel student debt. We also support Senator Durbin's bill to discharge loans in bankruptcy.


On August 7th, 2021, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, spoke on the Senate floor about the introduction of the FRESH START Through Bankruptcy Act of 2021, a bipartisan bill he introduced with U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) that would restore the ability for struggling borrowers to seek a bankruptcy discharge for federal student loans after a waiting period of ten years. Currently 45 million Americans hold more than $1.8 trillion in student loan debt. Unlike most other types of debt, student loans are not dischargeable in bankruptcy except in extremely rare circumstances.

S.2598 - FRESH START Through Bankruptcy Act

Durbin Speaks On New, Bipartisan Bill To Allow Federal Student Loan Borrowers To Discharge Loans In Bankruptcy (Senator Richard Durbin, 8-7-21) (PDF of Bill Summary)


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) letter to the White House PDF (Congress, 12-8-21)

More Than 200 Organizations Urge President Biden to Delay Restarting Student Loan Payments (Student Borrower Protection Center) PDF of Letter

Senator Warren Urges Department of Education to Remove Millions of Student Loan Borrowers from Default (Senator Elizabeth Warren, 11-18-21) PDF of Letter

Over 415 organizations send letter urging President Biden to cancel student debt by executive action (Student Debt Crisis, 4-13-21)

Warren, Schumer, Pressley, Colleagues: President Biden Can and Should Use Executive Action to Cancel up to $50,000 in Federal Student Loan Debt Immediately (Senator Elizabeth Warren, 2-4-21)


H.Res.100 - 117th Congress (2021-2022): Calling on the President of the United States to take executive action to broadly cancel Federal student loan debt (Introduced by Rep. Ayanna Pressley, 2-4-21) Track its status here.

S.Res.46 - A resolution calling on the President of the United States to take executive action to broadly cancel Federal student loan debt (Introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, 2-8-21) Track its status here.

S. Res. 711 - 116th Congress (2019-2020): Calling on the President of the United States to take executive action to broadly cancel Federal student loan debt (Introduced by Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren, 9-22-20)


Cancel Student Debt Now - An initiative by Rep. Ayanna Pressley's office

Debt Collective - A debtors' union fighting to cancel debts and defend millions of households.

"Join us to build a world where college is publicly funded, healthcare is universal and housing is guaranteed for all."

Higher Ed Labor United - Committee of higher educational staff who unify across ranks

NextGen America - Youth voting organizations and action group

Student Borrower Protection Center - A nationwide effort by legal advocates, grassroots activists and unions for borrowers' justice.

Student Debt Crisis - People-powered movement of over two million supporters

Student Loan Justice - A grassroots organization fighting for student loan justice.



Hip Hop Caucus Rallies to Cancel Student Debt (Inside Higher Ed, 1-20-22)

Student Debt Cancellation Is A Racial Justice Issue (Inequality.org, 1-18-22)

111 Student Body Presidents Urge President Biden to Cancel All Federal Student Loan Debt Immediately (The Debt Collective, 1-18-22) (Document)

30,000 Union Workers Call On Biden to Cancel All Student Debt (Business Insider, 1-18-22)

Progressives Reignite Call for Biden to Cancel Student Debt (Common Dreams, 12-22-21)

How The Left Forced Biden's Hand on Student Loans (The Washington Post, 12-22-21)

Easing the Burden of Student Loans (The Progressive, 12-21-21)

Low Wages and Exploitative Conditions Are Sparking Graduate Student Strikes (Truthout, 12-17-21)

The 20-Year Fight to Unionize Graduate Student Workers (New Republic, 12-14-21)

Biden Should Cancel Student Debt or Watch $85 Billion Evaporate From US Economy: Analysis (Common Dreams, 12-8-21)

We Applaud Congresswoman Ilhan Omar's Demands for Action on Student Debt (Earth Future Action)

Biden's campaign made two promises on canceling student debt. He hasn't done either. (Business Insider, 4-7-21)

Racial Capitalism and Student Debt in the U.S. (SagePub, 2-24-21)


Social Disaster USA 2021 - Millions of Americans Face Starvation and Poverty

Dead or Alive in Modern America - The Right to Exist

Life and Death in America (Audio)

Rent Crisis 2021


Call or write Congress about S. Res. 46 (GovTrack)

Call or write Congress about H. Res. 100 (GovTrack)

Read Senator Warren's legal Q&A about debt relief (Congress)

Student Loan Bill Tracking Database