As President Biden weighs how much, if any, student loan forgiveness over the past few months, a new poll reveals that a vast majority of Americans are in favor of debt forgiveness. Here’s what you need to know.
The Biden Administration has been looking into options to help reduce student loan debt, and as Biden was on the campaign trail, he also publicly endorsed a plan that would cancel $10,000 per borrower, while other progressives, like Bernie Sanders, have argued for outright debt cancellation. And a recent poll shows that a lot of Americans support the idea of debt forgiveness at least in some form. And many support way more debt forgiveness than Biden will likely call for as well.
A YouGov poll, an online poll that collected data between May 2 and May 6, found that half of the 1000 respondents would support student loan forgiveness of at least $25,000 per person. Additionally, the majority of those polled (68 percent) said they support forgiving at least some of the student debt held by all Americans.
Those numbers increased among specific groups of Americans holding student debt. Eighty-four percent support forgiving veterans’ debt, 79 percent support debt forgiveness for Americans with disabilities, 74 percent support forgiving nurses’ debt, 73 percent support forgiving public-school teachers’ debt, and 71 percent support debt forgiveness for low-income Americans.
In addition to the widespread support of forgiving student debt, 75 percent of U.S adults say student debt is a serious issue, with 56 percent putting blame on college and universities. Blame was also placed on banks and other lenders for being at fault for the high debt number, which totals approximately $1.7 trillion in student debt for 43 million American borrowers.
Holding debt right after graduating has had a negative impact on Americans, the poll shows. One in five grads said they wouldn’t have got to college if they knew what they now know about debt with the same number saying they would have gone to a less expensive school. “A number of people emphasized the detrimental impact that student debt has had on their credit scores,” the poll states, “which has limited their ability to secure housing or other lines of credit.”
There have been some groups of people who have had their student debt canceled already – those who attended institutions that have been charged with defrauding, and borrowers who saw forgiveness after new reforms for income-driven repayment programs and public service loan forgiveness.