By Lauren Victoria Burke, NNPA Newswire Contributor
On April 5, Rep. Alma Adams (D-NC) and Rep. Nikema Williams (D-GA), held a press event on legislation to provide student debt relief. Student loan debt payments were scheduled to resume on May 1, 2022 at the end of a moratorium, but the Biden Administration announced on April 5 that they will extend the moratorium.
Student loan debt impacts 41 million Americans and Adams and Williams pointed out that Black borrowers are disproportionately impacted.
Reps. Adams and Williams are leading on a series of bills focused on assisting borrowers with student loan debt. High student loan debt disproportionately is carried by Black women who then disproportionately earn less money which the members say continues to drive the wealth gap.
Three bills have been offered by the Congresswomen: the Clean Slate Through Consolidation Act; the Clean Slate Through Repayment Act; and the Student Loan Rehabilitation and Credit Score Improvement Act.
“I can tell you this with certainty: The debt is too damn high. Student debt is crippling generations of Americans. Countless predatory practices have taken one of the most transformative human experiences – going to college and getting an education – and made it a burden. Instead of making higher education a place to develop the mind, body, and soul, we’ve turned college and university into another barrier that keeps families out of the middle class,” Adams told a room full of reporters on Capitol Hill at a February 5, press conference.
“Any Gen Xer, Millennial, or recent college graduate knows how important that credit score can be when it comes to buying a car, opening a small business, obtaining a loan or line of credit, or applying for a mortgage,” Rep. Adams continued. Adams was a professor at Bennett college for 40 years.
Rep. Williams mentioned that she herself has student loan debt that she will have to repay and emphasized that the Atlanta area, which she represents, is disproportionately impacted by the weight of student loan debt.
In December 2021, President Biden directed the Department of Education to pause federal student loan repayments. On February 5, 2022, he extended the moratorium again.
Lauren Victoria Burke is an independent journalist and the host of the podcast BURKEFILE. She is a political analyst who appears regularly on #RolandMartinUnfiltered. She may be contacted at LBurke007@gmail.com and on twitter at @LVBurke