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On Long Island & standing with students, Schumer announces plan to immediately cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per student; with 2.4 million NY'ers owing almost $90 billion & avg LI'er owing $35k, senator leads charge to take immediate action in 2021 to attack student debt crisis being felt on LI

Statement

Date: Nov. 24, 2020

Standing at Nassau Community College with students and local officials, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer pushed a plan, today, to cancel up to $50,000 in debt--with no tax liability--for federal student loan borrowers. Schumer explained why this matters so much to borrowers on Long Island and how he plans to get it done, as he cited data, including that the average Long Islander holds more than $35,000 in student loan debt.

"Millions of young Americans, including Long Islanders and their families, have been crushed by student loan debt, greatly impeding their ability to begin careers and build the financial resources needed to buy homes, start families and build their futures," said U.S. Senator Charles Schumer. "Even worse, the debt load across Long Island is a bit higher than all of New York, and this holds down our entire local economy, which we cannot afford after the financial devastation of COVID. That is why I am announcing that I will prioritize student debt forgiveness in 2021, bringing immediate relief to millions of New Yorkers, including those here on Long Island."

Schumer explained how President Biden, once sworn into office, can use existing executive authority under the Higher Education Act to substantially cancel student loan debt for students on Long Island and across New York. Schumer said that immediate student debt relief through executive authority would provide a robust injection of COVID-19 relief to individuals struggling through the economic recession. Democrats in Congress prioritized student debt relief in the HEROES Act legislation that has been blocked by Senate Republicans for months, highlighting the need for new executive action.

Schumer was joined by NCC President Dr. Jermaine Williams, Nassau County Comptroller Schnirman and Long Island students as he made the case for the plan and highlighted the stories of local student loan debt on the Island.

"Real student debt relief would not only make a difference for so many Long Islanders, but it could help supercharge our economy," said Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman. "Student debt is unquestionably a crisis on Long Island, with data showing that pre-COVID, the average student debt balance on Long Island is higher than state and national averages, with 8.8% of borrowers more than 90 days behind on their student loan payments, and student loan delinquency rates higher than any form of debt, including mortgage and credit card debt. I thank Senator Schumer for leading the charge at the federal level on this, and I'm hopeful that this is one of many kitchen table solutions Long Islanders will see once the new administration takes office."

"At Nassau Community College, our students are a part of a close community that is deeply invested in their successes," said Dr. Jermaine F. Williams, President, Nassau Community College. "Eliminating a portion of student loan debt, which we know can be a significant financial burden, is a powerful tool for supporting future accomplishments."

"The bottom line is that the cost of college is out of control and paying for it forces countless students and families to take on crippling debt, which greatly impedes one's ability to get started and succeed after graduation, or even stay here on Long Island. It is like starting a long walk with a backpack stuffed with bricks, and so, this plan to cancel student debt on federal loans will substantially lighten that load and give recent graduates a huge boost that will launch them into a much brighter future," Schumer added.

New York State is home to over 300 public and private colleges and universities, serving approximately 1.2 million students. While 42% of college students in New York graduate without student loan debt, 58% graduate with debt and borrow more than the national average student debt loan of more than $30,000.

Long Island is home to 11 public and private colleges. Recent data, prior to the COVID crisis, from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, showed that Long Island's average student loan balance was a startling $35,100, a larger total than the state average of $34,600 and national average of $32,700. Long Island graduates burdened with student loan debts often have no choice but to postpone decisions like buying a home or car and starting a family, and are forced to put their lives on hold for upwards of a decade, a problem also highlighted by the Nassau County Comptroller's office. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York also reported that, prior to the COVID crisis, at least 9.3% of loan borrowers in Long Island were considered severely delinquent on their debt.

Schumer explained that student debt cancellation, like the kind he is pushing, can provide immediate relief to millions who are struggling during this pandemic and recession, and give a boost to our struggling economy through a consumer-driven economic stimulus that can result in greater home-buying rates and housing stability, higher college completion rates, and greater small business formation. This is especially good news for the nearly 2.4 million New Yorkers with outstanding student loans and a cumulative debt of $89.5 billion as of March 2020, according to studentaid.gov.

Student Debt Cancellation is a prominent issue that continues to garner support. Over 235 community, climate, health, civil rights, labor, consumer rights, and student advocacy organizations have already come out in support of using executive authority to cancel student loan debt, including the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association, The Education Trust, Hispanic Federation, NAACP, National Urban League, UnidosUS, League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Minority Veterans of America, Veterans Education Success, National Women's Law Center, SEIU, the American Psychological Association, Sunrise Movement, the United States Student Association, and Young Invincibles.


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