AAUW Reacts to President Biden’s Announcement on Federal Student Loan Debt Cancelation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The following is a statement from Gloria L. Blackwell, AAUW Chief Executive Officer:

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) applauds President Biden’s recent announcement to forgive $20,000 of student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients, $10,000 for many other borrowers, and to extend the federal student loan payment pause for all borrowers. We are pleased that the Administration heeded many of the recommendations in a recent AAUW report, but women and their families need more.

Borrowers cannot plan effectively without knowing how long the payment pause will remain in effect, and $10,000 is not enough to make an impact for most women, particularly Black and Hispanic women and low-income individuals. Moreover, debt cancelation should extend to all borrowers without an income cap.

Student loan debt remains an enormous obstacle to both gender and racial equity. According to new data from an AAUW survey of more than 1,500 women in New York City, women of color are encountering the “perfect storm” of challenges repaying student debt, due to the combination of the racial wealth gap, the gender and racial pay gaps, and economic instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To make a meaningful difference for American women—who hold nearly two-thirds of the nation’s student-loan debt—the Administration must provide permanent solutions to canceling student debt and expanding loan-repayment programs. We look forward to working with the administration on a new rule to address the expansion of these programs and establish a new income-driven repayment formula. Until these measures are put in place, the payment pause should continue.