Kandace Redd, ABC 10, August 24, 2022
More than 45 million people hold federal student loans in the U.S., making the cumulative federal student loan debt $1.6 trillion, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).
President Biden announced a plan on Wednesday to address America’s student loan debt crisis. If you earn less than $125,000 annually, he says you’re eligible to get up to $10,000 in debt cancellation. If you received a Pell Grant, you can get up to $20,000 forgiven.
The U.S. Department of Education is expected to provide more details on how people can apply and claim student loan debt relief in the weeks ahead. The Department says nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically “because relevant income data is already available to the Department.”
When it comes to student debt, there’s a racial and gender divide. Women hold nearly two-thirds of the outstanding student debt in the U.S. — close to $929 billion, according to a report by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), a non-profit organization on a mission “to advance gender equity for women and girls through research, education, and advocacy.”
The report shows women graduates owing almost $22,000 in student debt, compared $18,880 owed by men. Black women graduate with an average of $37,558 in student debt. More than 70% of Black students go into debt to pay for higher education, compared to 56% of white students.
“Women and their families need more,” said Gloria L. Blackwell, AAUW Chief Executive Officer. “Student loan debt remains an enormous obstacle to both gender and racial equity. To make a meaningful difference for American women, the Administration must provide permanent solutions to canceling student debt and expanding loan-repayment programs.”