Press Release: 2021-02-22

AG Healey Calls for Cancellation of Federal Student Loan Debt

AG Healey Calls for Cancellation of Federal Student Loan Debt

BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey today led a multistate coalition urging the adoption of U.S. House and Senate resolutions that call on President Biden to take executive action and cancel up to $50,000 in federal student debt owed by each and every federal student loan borrower nationwide.

In their letter to Congress, the attorneys general stress the immediate relief needed for borrowers struggling with unmanageable student loan debt, which has only been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and current financial crisis. The resolutions – Senate Resolution 46 and House Resolution 100 – call on the President to exercise his authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

“The burden of insurmountable student loan debt has crippled the finances of families across this country and widened the racial wealth gap,” AG Healey said. “Time after time, our office has made the case for struggling student borrowers through investigations, lawsuits, testimonies, and stacks of supporting evidence – how much longer do they need to wait to get the relief they deserve? We urge President Biden to use his authority to cancel this debt and help create a viable future for millions of Americans.”

According to the letter, the existing repayment system for federal student loans provides insufficient opportunity for struggling borrowers to manage their debts. As many as one in five federal student loan borrowers are in default. Options for student borrowers to obtain relief have also proven to be inadequate. Only 2 percent of borrowers who applied for loan discharges under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program have been granted a discharge, and efforts by state attorneys general to obtain student loan discharges for students defrauded by for-profit schools have been stymied by the U.S. Department of Education.

The letter specifically highlights misconduct by for-profit schools, and how the industry’s predatory practices have disproportionately harmed people of color. The attorneys general state that canceling federal student loan debt can substantially increase Black and Latinx household wealth and help close the racial wealth gap.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office has established itself as a national leader on behalf of distressed student borrowers and has brought numerous challenges against the illegal policies of former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and the U.S. Department of Education. AG Healey has also uncovered widespread misconduct at Education Management Corporation, ITT Technical Institute, Corinthian Colleges, American Career Institute and others, and secured relief for thousands of defrauded student borrowers in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts borrowers who are looking for student loan help or information should call the AG’s Student Loan Assistance Unit Helpline at 1-888-830-6277 or file a Student Loan Help Request.

Joining AG Healey in today’s letter, co-led with New York Attorney General Letitia James, are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.