Even Voters With No Student Loans Favor Forgiveness

Number of the Day: The most relevant or interesting figure in personal finance

Number of the Day

That’s how many likely voters without student loans favor the government forgiving at least some of each borrower’s debt, according to a new poll.

While an unsurprising 92% of people with student loans would like to see at least some loan forgiveness, even many without something at stake are in favor of it, according to a Feb. 18-22 poll of 1,137 likely voters conducted by Data for Progress, a left-leaning research group, and the Student Borrower Protection Center, which advocates for borrowers. Sixty-four percent of everyone surveyed favored forgiveness, including 81% of Democrats, 47% of Republicans, 74% of Black or African Americans, and 82% of Hispanics or Latinos.

While the federal government has granted select forgiveness to groups including disabled borrowers and public servants, Democrats who have been pushing hard for broad-based student loan forgiveness since the pandemic hit haven’t been successful. President Joe Biden said on the campaign trail that at least $10,000 per borrower should be forgiven, and progressive senators have called for that number to be $50,000. A new bill introduced earlier this month would strike a middle ground, forgiving $25,000

Forgiveness may become even more pressing as a pandemic-era halt to payment and interest obligations is set to expire in May. Ninety-two percent of fully employed borrowers anticipate trouble paying the bills when obligations resume because of today’s rapid inflation, according to a poll released last week by the Student Debt Crisis Center and Savi, two other advocacy organizations.

The burden of student debt—which has more than doubled to $1.75 trillion since 2010—is not only contributing to racial inequality but holding borrowers back from starting families and businesses and buying homes, advocates of broad forgiveness argue.

“Extending the pause on payments and canceling loan debt altogether are not only politically popular for President Biden, but will give much-needed relief for the middle class,” Anika Dandekar, a polling analyst at Data for Progress, said in a statement. The poll was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history, and results have a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, the pollsters said.

Have a question, comment, or story to share? You can reach Diccon at dhyatt@thebalance.com.

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  1. Student Borrower Protection Center. “New Poll: As Joe Biden Addresses the Nation, Voters of Color Overwhelmingly Support Action to Cancel Student Debt, Extend Pause on Student Loan Payments.”

  2. Medium. “Inflation Forcing Americans with Student Debt to Skimp on Everyday Necessities Ahead of Payments Resuming, New Survey Finds.”

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