The student loan debt crisis is leading to tremendous dispossession of wealth and income from borrowers—and disproportionately from Black and Latinx borrowers, as well as women borrowers of all races, with Black and Latinx women faring the worst. Aggressive student loan collection practices, which may even involve arrest or threat of arrest, are both an economic crisis and a civil rights concern. Even in the midst of the pandemic, borrowers are having wages garnished and their tax returns seized to pay for student loan debt. Congress must immediately act to prohibit this dispossession and to preserve economic stability—one urgently-needed step toward addressing a debt crisis that, ultimately, demands broad systemic reform.
New polling from Data for Progress and The Justice Collaborative Institute shows popular support for such relief:
- 55% of likely voters, including 52% of Republicans, support making it illegal to seize people’s property, such as cars and homes, to force the repayment of student loans;
- 53% of likely voters, including nearly half (49%) of Republicans, support making it illegal to withhold tax refunds and other government payments owed to people in order to force the repayment of student loans;
- Half of all likely voters, including 48% of Republicans, support banning garnishing wages—that is, the government taking money directly from people’s paychecks—to force the repayment of student loans.