President Joe Biden is being pushed by Democrats in the House and Senate to forgive up to $50,000 of student loan debt but the President is pushing back against leaders of his own party.
Speaking at CNN town hall on Tuesday, Mr. Biden was asked by a woman in the audience about his plan for student loan forgiveness.
“The American dream is to succeed, but how can we fulfill that dream when debt is many people’s only option for a degree?” she asked. “We need student loan forgiveness beyond the potential $10,000 your administration has proposed. We need at least a $50,000 minimum. What will you do to make that happen?”
“I will not make that happen,” Biden quickly responded.
Mr. Biden gave several reasons why he would not support the larger student debt forgiveness proposal and said it matters the type of school you go to.
“It depends on whether or not you go to a private university or public university,” said Biden. “It depends on the idea that I say to a community, ‘I’m going to forgive the debt, the billions of dollars of debt, for people who have gone to Harvard and Yale and Penn.’”
According to the U.S. Department of Education’s college scoreboard tool, graduates of wealthy Ivy League schools and 3% of Harvard students take out federal student loans. Over 40 percent of U.S. households owe almost 60 percent of the outstanding education debt.
I am prepared to write off $10,000 [of] debt, but not $50,000,” said Biden.
Mr. Biden’s statement disappointed some students, who were counting on that help. Joshira Maduro, who graduated from Lehigh University in 2012, told CNBC her bachelor’s degree in finance and marketing and a student loan cost her a total of $132,000.
“I didn’t have my hopes up,” she said.
However, she does support the President’s plan to forgive over $10,000 of student debt, saying it would go a long way to help her financially.
“That’s essentially a whole year of payments that would be taken care of,” she said. “Even just having a whole year of that money saved — I’ll know that if anything happens, I’ll feel confident I can bounce back.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez criticized Mr. Biden, saying arguments against acting unilaterally on the matter “just don’t hold water.”
“The case against student loan forgiveness is looking shakier by the day,” Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted Tuesday night. “We’ve got the *Senate Majority Leader* on board to forgive $50k. Biden’s holding back, but many of the arguments against it just don’t hold water on close inspection. We can and should do it. Keep pushing!”