Former U.S. Secretary of Education John King has a proposal to forgive all student loans in an effort for economic recovery.
Americans still owe $1.7 trillion in student loans, according to CBS News.
In the 1980s, the federal government paid around 80 percent of college students’ fees through the Pell Grant program, according to King.
“We’ve got to make up for that policy mistake of the last 40 years by addressing the crushing burden of student debt that so many young people feel today and fixing the problem going forward by committing to debt-free college in the United States,” he said.
Senators Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer have previously urged the government to cancel student loans, and according to Miguel Cardona, current education secretary, the Biden administration is internally discussing how to offer more student debt relief.
“We’re definitely, since day one, putting borrowers and students at the center of conversations,” Cardona said.
“In just one year, President Biden has forgiven over $17 billion already.”
More than 43 million Americans — nearly 13% of the U.S. population — carry student debt, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve, with the average borrower owing around $37,000.
In 2020, the White House placed an interest-free forbearance on student loan payments during the pandemic, and since March 2020 almost 37 million borrowers have received an estimated $195 billion worth of waived payments, according to the New York Federal Reserve.
Student debt can affect the timeline and trajectory of homeownership, business plans, or family planning, King said to CBS.
Forbearance of loans ends on May 1.