The student loan forgiveness application is now live, and everyone should apply. This application is a result of the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to help working and middle-class federal student loan borrowers transition back to regular payments as pandemic support ends.
If you earn less than $125,000 a year, you’ll get $10,000 knocked off your student debt, and if you received a Pell Grant, you will receive an additional $10,000 in relief. More than 40 million people can benefit.
There also have been changes to the public service loan forgiveness process. The freedom from the agony of monthly payments has brought relief to many. This is fantastic news, a move in the right direction and momentum that needs to be maintained.
Yesterday, President Biden publicly acknowledged Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and data scientists across the federal government for making the application easy and proficient. It was noted that more than 8 million applications were submitted during the Beta period.
“Even with this relief, some who already were struggling before the pandemic still will owe thousands of dollars in student loan debt.”
Even with this relief, some who already were struggling before the pandemic still will owe thousands of dollars in student loan debt. Thus, many organizations, politicians and faith leaders are asking the administration not to stop here. The fight is for all student debt to be canceled, giving people financial room to work toward a stable future for themselves and family.
American culture is one of debt. Without counting individuals who are actively borrowing money for school, nearly 45 million people hold trillions of dollars in debt. Many who enroll in school do so with the knowledge that they must make this decision in order to alter the course of their lives, not believing or even wanting to imagine that an education in America would cost them the future they dreamed about.
The decisions of past and current leaders continue to negatively affect borrowers today. There are many people sitting in pews, classrooms and offices around this country not able to thrive because of the debt on their backs. If we’re honest, this is not the first time in history where debt has had a stronghold on people, families and communities.
We can find various stories and Scripture that highlight the experiences of people in debt and the pressure they faced. These stories and Scriptures have the power not only to highlight the reality of many people in America, but also to lead those with the power to eliminate debt to make righteous decisions. For example, Proverbs, 22:7, “The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender.”
“For many, classism didn’t start when someone graduated college but was the very reason they chose to go to school in the first place.”
For many, classism didn’t start when someone graduated college but was the very reason they chose to go to school in the first place. Another example is Deuteronomy 15:1-2. “At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. … Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed.”
Yes, this Scripture was written to and for a community that has long since passed away, but it nonetheless helps us understand that forgiving debts owed to others benefits not only your neighbor but also future generations. Unfortunately, this has not been the American way, but it can be.
Yes, there are many ways to receive relief under this new administration, and there is still more work to do. Many organizations are fighting to see full student debt cancellation, regardless of work status or payments made.
The Debt Collective is a membership-based union for debtors and supporters. This organization aims to tap into the collective power of debtors to lead to change.
The Student Debt Crisis Center is a nonprofit that centers the needs and voices of borrowers and partners with allies to affect public policy and end the student debt crisis.
Let’s rejoice with everyone who has had their loans canceled. This is an action that brings us nearer to God. The pressure of repaying a loan three times over shouldn’t be placed on anyone.
I urge Christians not to stop here, but to organize around this issue. I urge everyone to keep pushing for total student loan debt cancellation, because this never should have been the reality to begin with.
Brittini L. Palmer is a freedom writer, preacher, communications consultant and graduate of Virginia Union University and McAfee School of Theology. Follow her on all social media platforms @BrittiniLPalmer.
Cancel student loan debt for everyone | Opinion by Brittini Palmer
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