Rep. Pressley: Student debt is an ‘intergenerational crisis'

A college education is a prerequisite for many well-paying jobs and has been touted as a good investment to raise Americans from lower income to middle class.

But it has also saddled many students with a lifetime of debt, affecting over 43 million Americans — including 14% of parents who helped finance their child’s education.

“This is an intergenerational crisis impacting parents who took out Parent PLUS loans and now can't retire because they took those loans out to send their children to school,” Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Massachusetts), recently told Yahoo Finance Live (video above). “In my district, I have grandparents on fixed incomes, educators, and young people who can't start a family, purchase a home, or start a business because they are still paying student loans.”

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 27: Activists hold signs as they attend a Student Loan Forgiveness rally on Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th street near the White House on April 27, 2022 in Washington, DC. Student loan activists including college students held the rally to celebrate U.S. President Joe Biden's extension of the pause on student loans and also urge him to sign an executive order that would fully cancel all student debt. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Credit: Getty Images (Anna Moneymaker via Getty Images)

Student loan debt is again at the forefront as many borrowers risk getting hit hard when their payments restart after the forbearance pause on federal loans expires August 31, 2022.


Inflation is already causing many Americans to feel a pinch on their wallets at the grocery store and gas pump. With talks of a recession, not extending forbearance will have an immediate impact on budgets for over millions of Americans who have federal student loan debt — unless it's canceled, as Pressley supports.

“Student debt was an issue that many tried to marginalize as something that would be regressive in impact,” Rep. Pressley said. “Canceling student debt is good economic policy, and it's also a racial justice issue, given the disproportionate burden on black borrowers.”

For teachers, nurses, lawyers and doctors who took jobs as public service workers in exchange for loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), the deadline to reapply for PSLF is October 31, 2022. But there have been historic, bureaucratic issues with the program with many borrowers denied the forgiveness.

This is why Rep. Pressley supports broad-based loan forgiveness instead.

“This is an issue of consequence for millions of Americans and they are deserving of immediate and urgent relief,” Rep. Pressley said. “We have to alleviate the burden that families are feeling at a time when people's expenses and bills are tighter than ever before.”

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Ronda is a personal finance senior reporter for Yahoo Money and attorney with experience in law, insurance, education, and government. Follow her on Twitter @writesronda

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