Illinois AG Raoul joins coalition to cancel student loan debt

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of other attorneys general to urge Congress to adopt resolutions that call for the cancellation of up to $50,000 in federal student debt.

Raoul and the other 16 attorneys general sent a letter to Congress last week, stressing the need for relief for borrowers struggling with student loan debt, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and current financial crisis. The resolutions – Senate Resolution 46 and House Resolution 100 – call on the president to exercise his authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues throughout the country, and with it economic uncertainty, student borrowers need relief now more than ever,” Raoul said in a press release. “Cancelling up to $50,000 in student loan debt will allow those borrowers to pay rent, purchase groceries and meet other urgent financial needs.”

According to the letter, the existing repayment system for federal student loans provides insufficient opportunities for struggling borrowers to manage their debts. As many as one in five federal student loan borrowers are in default. Options for student borrowers to obtain relief have also proven to be inadequate. Only 2% of borrowers who applied for loan discharges under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program have been granted a discharge.

The letter highlights misconduct by for-profit schools and how the industry’s practices have disproportionately harmed people of color. Raoul and the attorneys general state that cancelling federal student loan debt can substantially increase Black and Latino household wealth and help close the racial wealth gap.

Joining Raoul in sending today’s letter are the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.