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By Antonio Ray Harvey | California Black Media

Lillian Lewis has earned multiple degrees at California State University Sacramento.

Lewis stated that she had to pay off her student loans in order to cover tuition and living expenses. This put strain on her monthly budget before the pandemic. She struggled to make ends meet because of these arrears, which were in the thousands, and the interest.

Last month, Lewis received some unexpected good news. The Biden administration announced a $2B relief program that expanded the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF).

It took a huge burden off my finances, and will improve my credit rating, which was not terrible anyway, said Lewis who now does social work in Las Vegas. It took forever to pay off. I no longer have to worry.

PSLF helps borrowers pay off student loans.

The relief program was launched three months before the federal government lifted a freeze on student loan payments on January 31, 2022. The COVID-19 pandemic in the United States forced the federal government to suspend monthly payments for students who owe student loans. It also stopped all collection activity.

California has thousands of African Americans, like Lewis, who are saddled with enormous balances from loans they took out to cover tuition that was not covered by scholarships, living arrangement, textbooks, or other expenses.

Miguel Cardona, United States Education Secretary, tweeted November’s story about a borrower. He said, “We are just getting started to offer student debt relief for millions.

According to a report from California Student Loan and Debt Service Review Workgroup, (CSLDSRW), 84.9% of Blacks with bachelor’s degrees between 2015 and 2016 owed an average of 34,000 dollars upon graduation.

CSLDSRWs research also showed that Californians of colour default more on student loans. The San Francisco Bay Area had the highest percentages of Black residents and Latinos. They had 19.9% and 15% respectively.

Los Angeles’ ZIP codes with high minority populations had twice as many default rates than ZIP codes that are predominantly white.

Ayanna, a U.S. Congresswoman from Massachusetts, told the media during an American Federation of Teachers event that she had also defaulted on student loans.

According to the American Association of University Women (an advocacy group that advocates for equal pay and economic opportunities for women), black women have 20% more student debt than white women.

Like 85% of Black students I had to borrow. I also defaulted on those loans, like many other students. Pressley stated that Black and Brown students are five-times more likely to default on loans than their white counterparts.

CSLDSRWs reported the following: Black women accumulated more student debt from their undergraduate studies than any other group, an average $37,558, on average.

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EducationData.org, which tracks the rising cost of higher education, reports that Black college graduates owe $52,000 in student-loan repayments, nearly $25,000 more than their white counterparts.

In October, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill (424), the Private Student Loan Collection Reform Act. This law imposes new documentation requirements on private student loans lenders before any collection activity can be activated. AB 424 will become law on July 1, 2022.

Newsom signed the legislation to make sure that Californias students have more access and higher-quality education opportunities.

Californians have thrived in our top-ranked universities for decades. But not everyone has had the same access today. He said. Everyone deserves a chance at the California Dream.

The U.S. Department of Education predicts that thousands of people will be able to benefit from the federally funded debt relief programs over the next few months.

More than 45 million Americans owe $1.7 trillion in student loans. Progressive lawmakers have pushed Biden for the elimination of all federal debts above $50,000, and they are working to stop loan repayments.

89% of student borrowers said they aren’t financially prepared to repay student loans. 27% will spend at most a third of their income on student loans when they resume, tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Student debt is a major problem in our communities and economy. @POTUS should #CancelStudentDebt

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