“We call on President Biden cancel all federally owned loans by executive order, and replace this failed lending system with a less expensive, more state-friendly funding model for higher education,” the petition says. “We also call on both the President and Congress to return standard bankruptcy protections to ALL student loans, by executive order and through legislation.”
The petition also argues that taking that course of action would serve to stimulate the economy, by putting money in Americans’ pockets.
The petition was first created by Alan Collinge, founder of the site StudentLoanJustice.org, and author of a book called “The Student Loan Scam.”
According to CNBC, Biden backed forgiving $10,000 in student loans for all borrowers, and as president has asked his Education Secretary to prepare a memo on whether or not he has the legal authority to wipe out as much as $50,000 in student loans per person.
CNBC also put the country’s student loan balance at $1.7 trillion.
A different letter to the White House, back in April, called on Biden to cancel student debt via executive action. That letter was signed by more than 400 organizations, including Americans for Financial Reform, the Center for Responsible Lending, the National Consumer Law Center, Student Borrower Protection Center, Student Debt Crisis, and Young Invincibles.
“There is growing energy and strong bipartisan public support for immediate broad-based debt cancellation. Such executive action is one of the few available tools that could immediately provide a boost to upwards of 44 million borrowers and the economy,” the April letter said.
“Lawmakers and advocacy groups have introduced several proposals to provide various levels of student debt cancellation. In February, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senator Elizabeth Warren, House Financial Services Chairwoman Maxine Waters, and Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Alma Adams, Ilhan Omar, Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones, and Ritchie Torres introduced a bicameral resolution calling on the President to use executive action to cancel $50,000 in federal student loans for individual borrowers. They were joined by 14 other Senators and 51 other Representatives, and received the support of a multi-state group of attorneys general. The resolution highlights that the Higher Education Act empowers the Secretary of Education to cancel federal student debt administratively.”
The most frequent arguments against student debt cancellation include that it’s unfair to those who previously paid their student loan debts and that doing so would represent aid for college graduates, who are usually not the poorest Americans.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.