Sen. Chuck Schumer called on loan service companies on Sunday to “staff up” in response to President Joe Biden’s student debt cancellation plan announced last week.
The Senate Majority Leader celebrated the relief package announced Aug. 28, for which Schumer noted New York’s borrowing would result in a combined $16.3 billion cancellation thanks to what he cites as a decision historic and which he has been defending for a long time.
According to President Biden, middle-class and low-income Americans are eligible for $10,000 in loan forgiveness and $20,000 in debt relief for Pell Grant recipients. Schumer said more than 1.09 million New York borrowers would see their debt fully erased, while 2.25 million New Yorkers would receive some relief.
“They have such a burden, and it interferes with their ability to go to the job they want, with their ability to start a family and get married,” Schumer said Aug. 28 from his Midtown office. “New Yorkers will have a huge advantage. The burden on student shoulders for nearly half of all New Yorkers in debt will be eliminated and for everyone else will be reduced.
As news of the forgiveness makes headlines, Schumer says he expects an influx of borrowers to flood loan centers with questions about their forgiveness.
“Today we are asking the loan processor and the Federal Department of Education to ensure that loan processors hire more people, notify those people, so that over the next six weeks when students apply, they can get information on how to apply and what it means to them so they can start planning the loan process or earning money. Now it’s their obligation to step in, hire enough people and have knowledgeable people tell students what to do,” Schumer said.
While the senator bragged about the loan forgiveness plan and praised Biden for signing it, Schumer said he believed far more money than just $10,000 should have been taken out of student loans – a sentiment felt by many progressive voters who voted blue in the last election.
Still, he hailed it as a good first step.
“I kept saying for two years, I pushed him, I called him – I called him maybe 100 times to do this and he did. Will I keep fighting for more? Absolutely, I would ask for $50,000 in debt for everyone’s reduction. But it’s a huge first step, and now it’s easier to increase the amount of debt relief students will get,” Schumer said.
The Senate Majority Leader was joined by several students who thanked Schumer and Biden for what they called a light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s a huge step in the right direction to see so many debt cancellations, especially at the beginning when everyone thought it was a totally crazy thing. And so, it gives me a lot of hope. Going from forward. And it also makes me think about what my future might look like with the debt cancellations that just happened and debt cancellation is coming,” said Darrell Holman, 29, who has student debt of $97,000 while attending Eastern Michigan University.