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Summit Examines Impact of Student Debt on Black Women

4/13/2022 | Lois Elfman

Diverse Issues In Higher Education

Excerpt: In conversations combining research and advocacy, the subject of cancelling student debt, something that President Joe Biden spoke about on the campaign trail, was the central topic of a panel discussion held on Wednesday.

The State of Student Debt Summit, which was convened by the Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC) examined the current state of student debt. Central to the discussions is that Black students, most specifically Black female students, are disproportionately impacted by student loan debt.

In the session “The Path to Debt Cancellation: Combining Research and Advocacy,” Dr. John B. King, former U.S. Secretary of Education and candidate for governor in Maryland, said that during his time as Secretary of Education, the administration was focused on trying to improve income-driven repayment plans in the hopes it would address the student debt crisis.

“The reality is, it hasn’t,” said King. “The crisis has continued to grow.”

A report from The Education Trust noted that student loan debt disproportionately keeps Black borrowers from buying homes, starting businesses and even having children. King said that making higher education more accessible would be a positive for society as opposed to its current sentence to a lifetime of debt.

Those who are not in favor of cancelling student debt, often note that doing so will be detrimental to the economy. But the Summit’s speakers said the opposite is true.

“This is an opportunity for us to grow our economy and to unleash the talent of folks that are trapped because they’re burdened by debt,” said King.

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