#CancelStudentDebtVoices Town Hall Event
Thursday, April 15, 2021 at 3:00 PM ET
Open to the press. Register or join here.
Americans collectively hold over $1.7 trillion in student debt. Black, Latinx, and low-income communities are disproportionately impacted by student loans. While widespread misconceptions about student borrowers continue to exist and spread, the individual circumstances and experiences of borrowers vary greatly.
To shed more light on the stories of borrowers and the human cost of the student debt crisis, NAACP Youth & College Division, Student Debt Crisis, Center for Responsible Lending, Generation Progress, NextGen America, and Young Invincibles are launching the #CancelStudentDebt Voices Project to give borrowers a simple way to tell their stories and contribute to a fuller, more accurate picture of the people who are impacted by student loan debt. In sharing these powerful testimonies, we hope to demonstrate the life-altering potential of free college and broad-based student debt cancellation.
To learn more about the project and hear directly from borrowers, student debt experts and advocates, and Majority Senate Leader Schumer, join our town hall on April 15th at 3:00 PM ET.
“Structural inequities in all parts of our society have kept communities of color from building wealth and achieving financial prosperity. This translates into a major disparity in pursuing higher education as well, where we are seeing more Black students and other students of color having to borrow more to finance their educations, and then having more trouble paying off their student debt,” said Center for Responsible Lending Senior Policy Counsel Whitney Barkley-Denney. “We must listen to the voices of borrowers and their families to understand how substantial student debt cancellation would impact their ability to save for a rainy day, start a business, and build wealth while providing a degree of equity for communities of color.”
“There is a fundamental misunderstanding in this country about who student loan borrowers are,” said Generation Progress Senior Director Charlotte Hancock. “The fact that millions of young Americans, particularly Black and Brown and low-income borrowers, are saddled with student loan debt is a shameful testament to the broken promise of the American Dream. Borrowers’ lived struggles, aspirations, and power deserve to be shared. The voices amplified by this project must be the tipping point for our leaders—the time for free college paired with broad-based debt cancellation for current borrowers is now.”
“A reimagined education foundation must center debt-free and equitable education as the standard and ever-standing priority, rather than a convenient afterthought for election season,” said NAACP Youth & College Division National Field Organizer Russell Boyd II. “If lawmakers want to truly lead in our democracy, they must cancel student debt to ensure all students have an opportunity to access equitable education and be successful, especially Black students who are disproportionately impacted by the fractures of our education system and have historically been disenfranchised.”
“Too many Americans of all ages are suffering under the weight of crushing student loan debt,” said NextGen America Executive Director Cristina Tzintzún Ramirez. “This burden is felt especially deeply by Black and brown Americans, and it’s long past time for us to act. By sharing our stories and hearing from experts on the issue, we can make progress in convincing the Biden administration and elected officials to cancel student debt.”
“Lawmakers and the President must pause and reflect on what it means for our country to have student loan debt holding back young people, creating larger barriers to racial equity, making it impossible to save for retirement, and stifling small businesses. Simply put, what does it mean to crush the American Dream,” said Student Debt Crisis Executive Director Natalia Abrams. “These diverse stories reflect the scale of this crisis – every aspect of American society harmed by student debt. And, yet, these stories also share a sense of hopefulness from the everyday people, from all backgrounds, fighting to cancel student debt. Through the Cancel Student Debt Voices project, SDC continues its commitment to center the voices of borrowers and partner with allies to impact public policy and end the student debt crisis forever.”
“The financial model of higher education that leads to continuous rises in tuition to replace steadily dwindling public investment is broken, and especially burdensome for students who come from families without significant wealth,” said Young Invincibles Policy and Advocacy Director for Higher Education Dr. Kyle Southern. “As an organization dedicated to amplifying the voices of young people in critical policy decisions, YI sees the Cancel Student Debt Voices Project as an essential platform to convey the urgent need for relief from the student debt burden borne by millions of Americans, with the weight heaviest for women and borrowers of color.”
RSVP for this virtual event by following this link.