AAUW Strongly Condemns the Senate Vote 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) strongly condemns the Senate for turning their back on the millions of American women pursuing higher education by voting to reverse the pause on federal student loan payments and overturn President Biden’s debt relief plan.
We call on President Biden to stand up for higher education and veto this harsh and unnecessary resolution.  If enacted, the Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions (S.J.Res.22/H.J.Res.45) would force millions of women into unplanned repayment, leading to thousands of dollars in payments and interest being added back onto their loans. Student loan debt remains an enormous obstacle to both gender and racial equity. Women make up just over half of students enrolled in all sectors of higher education, yet hold almost two-thirds of the country’s student debt. Women who take out loans borrow an average of about 7% more than men—and Black women take on the most substantial debt burden, graduating with an average of $37,558 in student debt.
Students of color are also significantly more likely to attend for-profit colleges, where rates of student debt are disproportionately high. This debt is also more challenging to pay back—nearly 40% of students attending for-profit colleges are expected to default, or fail to make a payment, on their loans by 2030.
To make a meaningful difference for American women, Congress should focus on permanent solutions to help current debt-holders including streamlining income-driven repayment plans to make it easier for individuals to enroll and improve outcomes for women who are struggling to repay their loans. AAUW also calls on the Congress to pass polices to support future borrowers including expanding Pell Grants for low-income students to ensure that aid covers a greater share of the total cost of college attendance and passing the Child Care Access Means Parents in Schools (CCAMPIS) Act, which would provide vital support for the participation and success of low-income parents in postsecondary education.
Until these measures are put in place, Congress should allow the Administration the flexibility to forgive $20,000 of student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and keep the payment pause in place. Read AAUW’s research report, “Deeper in Debt: Women & Student Loans” about how student loan debt unfairly burdens women, especially women of color.
Please contact AAUW communications manager at morenillal@aauw.org to schedule an interview with Gloria Blackwell, AAUW Chief Executive Officer.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through research, education, and advocacy. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and more than 800 college and university members. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s fellowships and grants have helped scholars and activists overcome barriers to education and advancement for more than140 years. Learn more and join us at www.aauw.org