Equal Rights Advocates Applauds President Biden’s Student Debt Relief Efforts, but More Relief is Needed for Women of Color
August 24. 2022
For Immediate Release
Aug 24, 2022
Statement from Noreen Farrell, civil rights attorney and Executive Director of Equal Rights Advocates (ERA), which fights for gender justice in workplaces and schools across the country
August 24, 2022 — President Biden’s announcement today that up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt will be forgiven for Pell Grant recipients, and up to $10,000 for other qualifying borrowers, as well as the extension of the federal student loan payment pause, is welcome news for millions of Americans struggling to make ends meet and for women of color in particular.
However, with Black women carrying a disproportionate share of the $1.7 trillion student debt burden, more relief is needed to truly make a difference in these women’s lives.
We commend the Biden Administration for taking this initial step to relieve the immense debt burden holding back so many Black and Latinx working women and families. This will have an outsized impact on women of color who have always borne the brunt of financial hardship in this country, made worse by the pandemic and mounting debt.
Equal Rights Advocates’ Family Voices research, which surveyed over 600 women across the U.S.—the majority of whom are Black and Latina—found half of the women surveyed barely earn enough to make ends meet and 85% took on additional debt during the pandemic as personal financial circumstances changed and they struggled to cover essentials like rent, utilities, and medical expenses. This is a problem that will compound: nearly 6 in 10 don’t feel confident in their ability to pay off that debt, now or in the future.
We urge the administration to consider further student debt relief action, as well as other policies that can improve the economic situation for millions, including a higher federal minimum wage, subsidized childcare, and free and legal abortion access.
To request an interview with Noreen Farrell, please contact Erin Musgrave at (530) 864-7014 or [email protected].
About Equal Rights Advocates
Equal Rights Advocates fights for gender justice in workplaces and schools across the country. Since 1974, they have been fighting on the front lines of social justice to protect and advance rights and opportunities for women, girls, and people of all gender identities through groundbreaking legal cases and bold legislation that sets the stage for the rest of the nation.