Dear Mr. President,
As chairman of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee, I am writing to express my deepest gratitude for your leadership in the global student crisis, especially in light of the White House initiative to eradicate student loan debt for Corinthian Colleges students. However, I do not believe that the efforts of the White House should stop there. As a former school principal and educator at Miami-Dade County Public Schools, I share a deep interest in education, as do you and First Lady Dr. Biden. We understand the importance of education for all, especially for the underserved communities that we proudly represent.
Thirty years ago, there was a consensus that graduating from high school was sufficient and that further education beyond was optional. A multitude of students immediately joined the labor market after graduating from high school and found employment. But as parents, grandparents, and educators, we encouraged our students to work hard and pursue higher education. We promised them that if they continued their academic commitment, they would receive the coveted college degree and experience unbounded success. They took our advice, but now they need help.
The State of Florida runs research programs in departments like Cancer Research at University of Floridamarine biology at Florida International Universityand bacterial research at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. Despite the state’s outstanding output in higher education, the cost of college attendance in Florida and other states is rising dramatically, making higher education inaccessible and unaffordable. The Florida Department of Health reports that statewide, the median household income is $57,403; Meanwhile, the average cost of tuition and fees ranges from $10,338 to $38,185 per year. In extreme cases, the cost of attendance relative to median household income consumes almost fifty percent of that income.
Aware that today more than half of students leave school in debt, on April 4, 2022, I introduced HR 7530 – Student Loan Borrower Assistance Act alongside twenty-one fellow House Democrats. This legislation aims to update income-based repayment plans and Civil Service Loan Cancellation Programas defined in Articles 455 and 493 of the Higher Education Act, which includes provisions to cancel percentages of the repayment obligation each year. To amplify these efforts, I respectfully urge you to provide relief to our constituents by canceling all student loan debt.
According Federal Student Aid, nearly 43.4 million Americans have student loan debt with nearly nine million borrowers in default. Additionally, minority borrowers are vulnerable to the negative implications associated with student loan debt. Specifically, black students are at higher risk for debt due to financial hardship and structural barriers. The average black student borrower owes 95% of their debt twenty years after starting college, as opposed to the average white student who owes about 6% of their debt now. Similarly, Hispanic students are twice as likely to default on student loans compared to the average white student.
I urge an end to the student debt crisis with the Biden administration – to cancel all student loans, to make higher education accessible and affordable, and to hold institutions accountable for securing student jobs after the crisis. ‘university.
Our nation has clung to the promise of the American dream and upward mobility, however, with the skyrocketing cost of living, the right to go to college is in jeopardy. As advocates of democracy, it is our responsibility that Americans realize their version of the American dream and do so without being penalized by their government.