Attorney General Mark R. Herring joined a multistate coalition urging the adoption of U.S. House and Senate resolutions that call for the cancellation of up to $50,000 in federal student debt owed by each and every federal student loan borrower nationwide.
In a letter to Congress, Herring and his colleagues stress the immediate relief needed for borrowers struggling with unmanageable student loan debt, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and current financial crisis. The resolutions – Senate Resolution 46 and House Resolution 100 – call on President Biden to exercise his authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.
“Hundreds of thousands of Virginians are suffering under the crippling weight of federal student loan debt, which in turn affects almost every other aspect of their lives,” said Herring. “Black and Latinx communities in Virginia are particularly affected by the burden of student loan debt and giving them this relief could substantially increase their household income. Too often, a Virginian is held back in life because of student loan debt and it’s time they get the help they deserve.”
According to the letter, the existing repayment system for federal student loans provides insufficient opportunity for struggling borrowers to manage their debts. As many as one in five federal student loan borrowers are in default. Options for student borrowers to obtain relief have also proven to be inadequate. Only 2 percent of borrowers who applied for loan discharges under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program have been granted a discharge, and efforts by state attorneys general to obtain student loan discharges for students defrauded by for-profit schools have been stymied by the U.S. Department of Education.
The letter specifically highlights misconduct by for-profit schools, and how the industry’s predatory practices have disproportionately harmed people of color. Attorney General Herring and his colleagues state that cancelling federal student loan debt can substantially increase Black and Latinx household wealth and help close the racial wealth gap.