‘Unjust’: Student Debt Verdict Means More Economic Hardships for Some Americans
If the US Supreme Court had not overruled President Joe Biden’s program to cancel billions of dollars in student debt, Satra D. Taylor, who borrowed $40,000 to complete her studies, could have seen that amount reduced by half.
Now the 27-year-old — who used the loan to study at the University of Michigan, supplementing a scholarship and other financial aid — is back on the hook for the whole sum.
“We created this unjust, inequitable, expensive, higher education system and so we need to redress it, » she told AFP, standing before the high court.
Biden’s forgiveness program was meant to lift more than $400 billion in student debt weighing down the lives of millions of lower and middle-income Americans.
Certain borrowers would have been eligible to receive $20,000 in cancellations, while the vast majority were eligible for $10,000.
But the court overruled the program Friday, stating that given the large sum, the president had overstepped his powers.
“Any American who wants to pursue higher education should be able to do so, » Taylor said.
“We have students now who have not acquired the generational wealth to pay for their cost of college, it needs to be debt-free, » added Taylor, who works for youth advocacy group Young Invincibles.
Taylor said she was not surprised given the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, which on Thursday banned the use of affirmative action in university admission policies.
Taylor, who is African American, said the loan forgiveness decision was a setback for Black and Latino students who “would have disproportionately benefitted from this relief. »
“This is absolutely not only a social justice issue, but also a racial equity issue. »
Mina Schultz, 37, who borrowed approximately $65,000 for her studies, emphasized the impact student debt has on the entire economy.
When the pandemic hit and student loan repayments were frozen, it was “a blessing, » she told AFP from outside the Supreme Court.
People were “able to contribute more to the economy » by spending money elsewhere, whether on food as prices surged due to inflation or on things like rent, the George Washington University graduate said.
Schultz would have benefited from $10,000 in debt cancellation, which “would have been really helpful. »
That sort of money “is a huge deal to a lot of people, » said Schultz, who will be forking over some $340 per month when payments resume in several months.
Enjoying a seemingly debt-free life during the repayment pause, she was able to move out of her studio apartment and into a one-bedroom unit.
Nearby, Shanna Hayes, 34, could not contain her emotion as she spoke before several cameras: Her debt, originally $130,000, now exceeds $150,000 due to compounding interest that has accrued over the past 11 years.
“I ask you to remember that the student debt crisis impacts our grandparents, parents… children and future generations, » she told the reporters.
(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – AFP)