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Do You Qualify For $10,000-$20,000 Federal College Debt Cancellation? The Official Black American Guide

Do You Qualify For $10,000-$20,000 Federal College Debt Cancellation? The Official Black American Guide

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Photo: James Meredith, left, his son Joseph Meredith, right, on May 11, 2002, in Oxford, Miss. (AP Photo/Robert Jordan)

On Aug. 24, President Joe Biden announced his long-awaited plan to cancel billions of dollars in college student loan debt, a campaign promise that many said took too long to be fulfilled.

Under the plan, the government will cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for borrowers making less than $125,000 a year, or $250,000 for married couples. Students who received Pell Grants, low-interest federal loans to benefit lower-income college students, will have up to $20,000 of their debt canceled.

Forgiving $10,000 per borrower would eliminate student debt for 11.8 million borrowers, or 31 percent of the total number, according to the New York Fed, Reuters reported.

Many have argued that college student loan debt forgiveness would benefit Black students as well as help close the racial wealth gap as Black students hold a disproportionate amount of student loan debt. Others argue that $10,000 is too low to make a dent in the wealth gap, however.

The Black-white wage gap is getting worse, while Black communities’ indebtedness is increasing.

“I want the Black people who are congratulating Biden for 10k, possibly 20k, in debt forgiveness to know that they should feel entitled to better given the country — the richest nation in the world — was built on slavery. The first universities were built on slave labor,” tweeted Charles Preston of Injustice Watch.


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But economist William E. Spriggs said there is some benefit of the Black to Black America. He tweeted, “Yes, the plan announced by @POTUS does help parents with PLUS loans. This is essential for Black families, because so many Black parents were caught in the cross hairs of tuition financed higher ed. Essentially they borrowed their retirement savings, sacrificing for their child.?

So will you benefit by this debt relief?

You will if you took out federal student loans (not private loans) and currently make less than $125,000 individually or less than $250,000 for dual-income households.

People who received Pell Grants, a need-based type of student aid, can have up to $20,000 canceled.

According to most recent data on Pell Grant distribution by race and gender, 2015-2016, Black students are more likely to receive the Pell Grant in general. The average Pell Grant award for Black students is $3,400. The average Pell Grant award is $4,491.

To check if you received a Pell Grant, examine your Federal Student Aid account on the government website that tracks your federal student loans, The Huffington Post reported.

You will need to make sure the Department of Education has your income data on record. And, the Biden administration says it will open a “simple application” form “in the coming weeks.”

Photo: Forty years after James Meredith, left, was escorted through an angry mob to become the first Black person to enroll at the University of Mississippi, his son Joseph Meredith, right, graduated as the top doctoral student in the business school. They are pictured on May 11, 2002, in Oxford, Miss. (AP Photo/Robert Jordan)