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Earlier this month, U.S. Rep Troy Carter announced his bill to forgive up to $50,000 in federal student loans for any and all federal borrowers.

“It’s Congress’ job to improve the lives of the American people,” said Congressman Troy A. Carter Sr. “While some tragedies are out of our hands during this public health crisis, we can and should take action wherever we can. Easing the enormous burden of student loans for the millions of Americans, young and old, saddled with debt is one of my highest priorities in Congress.  This legislation will do just that.”

Congressman Carter’s legislation follows President Biden’s extension of the student loan payment moratorium until January 31, 2022, from September 30, 2021. While this extension provides a much-needed cushion for those crushed by student loan debt, Congressman Carter’s bill offers permanent forgiveness for all current, federal borrowers.

“My mother taught me the value of education firsthand,” said Congressman Carter. “While studying at Xavier University in New Orleans, she would attend class with all six of her children in tow. Bringing all six of us to class absolutely wasn’t easy. Many couldn’t have done it. I can’t imagine how we would have gotten by if she had worked so hard to earn her degree, only to graduate with thousands of dollars in debt. Her dedication instilled in me the importance of breaking down barriers in college education and the importance of being a lifelong learner.”

U.S. Rep. Carter’s proposal, if it is passed by Congress and signed by President Biden,  could prove  especially important for Black student loan borrowers when the student loan gap between Black and White college graduates is considered.

According to the American Council on Education (ACE), African American students are more likely to borrow than students from other racial and ethnic groups pursuing similar types of degrees, and are more likely to borrow relatively large amounts. They are less successful in repaying their loans and more likely to default.

Moreover, the debt gap issues for Black borrowers are linked to a job market where Black-White unemployment and wage gaps have widened along with disparities in repayment plans. 

A paper released by the Brookings Institution reports that fours years after earning a bachelor’s degree:

 • Black college graduates have nearly $25,000 more student loan debt: an average of $52,726 in student debt, compared to $28,006 for the typical White bachelor’s graduate.

 • The aforementioned gap is more than three times the previously documented Black-White gap in undergraduate borrowing (≈$7,400). 

• On average, Black graduates owe 6 percent more than they have borrowed, while White graduates owe 10 percent less than they have borrowed. 

Data provided by the American Council on Education also tells that African-American students are more likely than their White counterparts to incur student debt in pursuit of advanced degrees. 

Only 19 percent of African American master’s degree recipients completed their degrees without borrowing for graduate school, and 16 percent borrowed $75,000 or more. In contrast, 43 percent of white master’s degree recipients avoided borrowing, and 7 percent borrowed $75,000 or more for graduate school.

“Education is a lifelong endeavor, key to growing and evolving. Pursuing a dream should not put a shadow over the future. It’s time to end student loan debt to ensure that all have the opportunity to succeed.”