Responding to the economic impacts of the global coronavirus pandemic, Democratic senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) today released a plan to relieve student loan borrowers by instructing the U.S. Department of Education to make monthly payments on their behalf throughout the durations of the national emergency. Under the plan, each borrower would be guaranteed at least $10,000 in federal loan payment assistance, which would result in student debt being canceled for 35 percent of borrowers. For those with over $10,000 of student loan debt, the plan also establishes a three-month grace period post-national emergency before borrowers would need to resume making payments. In a time of extreme financial uncertainty and rapidly rising unemployment, this plan would make a huge difference for young Americans with student loan debt, many of whom would struggle to keep up with loan payments while also affording necessities such as food, rent, and health care during the pandemic. 

Brent J. Cohen, executive director of Generation Progress, released the following statement:  

“As our country responds to the global coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to address the crushing economic impact this crisis will have on younger generations. Millennials—many of whom started their careers during the devastating financial collapse of the mid-2000s—are now staring down the second economic crisis of their adult lives, just as many of us are starting families of our own or caring for aging parents. Now, members of Generation Z are facing similar circumstances—beginning their careers in the midst of a financial crisis. Despite higher levels of educational attainment, many young people rely on the gig economy or minimum wage jobs and one-third of young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 are also saddled with outrageous levels of student debt. For young people across the country, and particularly those with less disposable income and a higher chance of losing their jobs, this bill would relieve them from making the impossible choice of spending their resources on the essentials like health care and groceries or monthly student loan payments.” 

For more information or to speak to an expert, contact Emily Leach at eleach@americanprogress.org.

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