Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden doubled down on his commitment to broad student loan forgiveness at a town hall in Miami Tuesday.
When a young person asked about student loan debt and a lack of economic opportunity for graduates, the former vice president was quick to lay out his plan.
Joe Biden addresses Gen Z at Florida town hall: “You’re the best educated, you’re the most open, you’re the least prejudiced generation in American history. The future is yours and I’m counting on it.” #BidenTownHall pic.twitter.com/8hhAXycAsw
— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 6, 2020
“You get all these degrees and you get all this debt, and you get in a position where you can’t get a job because no one is hiring, or they’re hiring at very low wages…I’m going to eliminate your student debt if you come from a family [making less] than $125,000 and went to a public university.” Biden said before adding, “I’m going to make sure everyone gets $10,000 knocked off of their student debt.”
Biden also discussed his plan to give young Americans a $15,000 credit toward a downpayment on their first home.
“This is how people accumulate wealth,” Biden said, according to Forbes.com. “This is how people get started. We have to recognize you and advance you. You are the future.”
Biden, who initially avoided endorsing broad cancellation of student loan debt, embraced more dramatic steps to alleviate the burden of student loan debt as an olive branch to young progressive voters in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and recent racial justice protests.
Student loan debt has skyrocketed over the last decade. In 2010, student loan debt in the country was around $830 billion. Last year, the amount was $1.6 trillion, meaning now there is more money tied up in student loan debt than credit cards and auto loans.
Only home mortgages have more in debt today. More than 40 million Americans have student loans and 70% of college graduates enter the work force carrying some kind of debt. Meanwhile, it has gotten harder for borrowers to pay their loans back, and tuition costs have gone up at most schools.
In 2013, college graduates were leaving school with an average of $30,000 in student loans. Just three years later, that figure increased to $37,000. Biden also endorses Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to amend the bankruptcy code to allow student loan debt to be more easily discharged in bankruptcy.