Canceling student debt is good policy and good politics.

By Mondaire Jones, Data for Progress

Long before the COVID-19 crisis upended our country, another, less noticeable crisis was quietly wreaking havoc on our economy. For years before the pandemic, millions of students were borrowing unsustainable amounts of money to finance their education. While wages stagnated, the cost of college ballooned to record levels. No longer was it even remotely possible to imagine a world like the one the Baby Boomer generation enjoyed, where tuition was as low as $40 a semester and a part-time job could comfortably pay for that tuition. But instead of addressing this burgeoning crisis, for years, elected officials ignored the problem.

When the pandemic hit, we found ourselves in the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans, already struggling to keep up with their student loans, saw their incomes cut suddenly — or, worse, disappear altogether. In an effort to ease the financial burden, the Department of Education instituted a moratorium on federal student loan repayments in March 2020, which has been extended on multiple occasions since. The pause on payments has saved millions of Americans from having to choose between paying their loans and paying for food or rent, and has proven to be massively popular.

Mondaire Jones speaks at U.S. Senator Charles Schumer media presentation to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for federal student loan borrowers at 777 3rd Avenue

It is clear that the moratorium has benefitted Americans and the economy. So why not think bigger? Under the Higher Education Act, the same statute President Biden has invoked to pause repayments, he has the authority to cancel federal student loan debt — and he should do so.

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