September 21, 2020, Washington DC—Today, Generation Progress and 17 Higher Ed, Not Debt campaign members and allies—including youth organizations, civil rights groups, labor unions, think tanks, advocacy nonprofits, and consumer and student borrower organizations—are kicking off the #CancelStudentDebt week of action to call on legislators to support cancellation of student debt as a solution to the student debt crisis.

In this week of action, our coalition will be meeting with legislators, amplifying and destigmatizing the experiences of student borrowers on social media, and encouraging members of Congress to adopt student loan debt cancellation as part of future recovery efforts. 

Congress must:

  • substantially increase funding for public higher education;  
  • enact broad student loan debt cancellation—cancelling even a small portion of debt would provide benefits to all borrowers, especially those who are in default;
  • expand CARES Act provisions beyond January 1, 2021 on pausing payments and collections, 0% interest rates, and qualifying payments toward forgiveness programs; and
  • include all student loan borrowers in solutions, including the 8 million Perkins and FFEL borrowers excluded from CARES relief and all private student loan borrowers.

“Forty-three million Americans currently hold a total of $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Black, Latinx, and low-income people are among the borrowers who are most harmed by the student debt crisis—and these borrowers are also disproportionately likely to be impacted by the health and economic ramifications of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brent J. Cohen the executive director of Generation Progress. “We need solutions that are simple to implement, provide immediate relief to a large number of people, and take equity considerations into account. Broad-based student debt cancellation, even at relatively modest levels, achieves this—which is why we are calling on legislators this week to cancel student debt.”

To learn more about the week of action or to speak with an expert, contact eleach@americanprogress.org.

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