Assembly Member Santiago’s Bill Urging Biden to Cancel All Student Debt Advances

For immediate release:

(Sacramento, CA) – Today, Assembly Joint Resolution (AJR) 33, authored by Assembly Member Miguel Santiago (D- Los Angeles), urging President Biden to cancel all federal student debt passed the Assembly Higher Education Committee with a vote of 11-1-1. While inflation rises and student debt payments are set to resume in a few months, this bill sends a timely message to President Biden that California supports forgiving all student debt.

“I applaud President Biden for taking on the student debt crisis and for his proposal to cancel $10,000 of student debt per person,” said Assembly Member Miguel Santiago. “However, we must do more. Widespread student debt cancellation will be largely beneficial to all student borrowers rather than the wealthiest Americans. Let’s send a message that the State of California supports the cancelling of all federal student debt.”

President Biden’s current student debt forgiveness proposal would forgive $10,000 of student debt per person making less than $150,000 per year. While the President’s plan is laudable, cancelling $10,000 per borrower only a step, and the means-test tied to it could cause complicated barriers to forgiveness. Other details of the plan have yet to be released and the Biden Administration has made no official announcement.

According to a report by the California Student Aid Commission, Black student borrowers in California with bachelor’s degrees possess nearly 50 percent more student loan debt compared to their White peers four years after graduation. Only cancelling $10,000 of student debt would not have a proportionate impact on these borrowers and would further contribute to the racial wealth gap. Additionally, at a time of soaring inflation that is devastating most Americans, more than $10,000 of forgiveness is needed to have a meaningful impact on most borrowers.

In addition to providing immediate relief to tens of millions of Americans, widespread student debt forgiveness is estimated to add at least $86 billion per year to the country’s gross domestic product.

AJR 33 will be heard next on the Assembly Floor.

Assembly Member Miguel Santiago is the Chair of the Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Los Angeles County Homelessness. He also sits on the Assembly Committees on Public Safety, Health, Higher Education and Utilities and Energy. He represents the 53rd District composed of the cities of Los Angeles, Huntington Park, and Vernon.