Senator Chuck Schumer called Sunday for loan service companies to “staff up” in response to President Joe Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan announced last week.
The Senate majority leader celebrated the announced relief program on Aug. 28, for which Schumer noted that New York borrows would see a combined $16.3 billion in cancelled debt thanks to what he cites as a historic move and one he has long championed.
According to President Biden, middle-class and low-income Americans are eligible for $10,000 in loan forgiveness and $20,000 in debt relief for Pell Grant recipients. Schumer declared that over 1.09 million New York borrowers will have their debt totally wiped away, while 2.25 million New Yorkers will see some modicum of relief.
“They have such a burden, and it interferes with their ability to go to the job they want to go to, with their ability to start a family and get married,” Schumer said on Aug. 28 from his Midtown office. “New Yorkers will have a huge benefit. The weight off students’ shoulders for close to half of all New Yorkers who have debt will be eliminated and for all the others will be reduced.”
With news of this forgiveness hitting the headlines, Schumer says he expects an influx of borrowers to inundate loan centers with questions regarding their forgiveness.
“Today, we are calling on the loan processor and the federal Department of Education to make sure that the loan processors hire more people, inform those people, so in the next six weeks when students apply, they can get information on how to apply and what it means to them so they can start planning the loan process or making money. Now it’s their obligation to step up to the plate, hire enough people and have well informed people tell the students what they need to do,” Schumer said.
While the senator boasted about the loan forgiveness plan and praised Biden for signing off on it, Schumer declared that he feels far more money than merely $10,000 should have been removed from student loans — a sentiment felt by many progressive constituents who voted blue during the last election.
Still, he praised this as being a good first step.
“I kept saying for two years, I pushed him, I called him — I called him maybe 100 times to get him to do this and he did. Am I going to keep fighting for more? Absolutely, I’d ask for $50,000 in debt for everybody’s reduction. But this is a huge first step and it makes it easier now to increase the amount of debt relief that students will get,” Schumer said.
The senate majority leader was joined by several students who thanked both Schumer and Biden for what they called a light at the end of the tunnel.
“It’s a huge step in the right direction to see this much debt cancellation, especially at the beginning when everybody thought it was totally crazy thing to happen. And so, it gives me a lot of hope. Going forward. And it also makes me think about what my future can look like with debt cancellations that just happened and debt cancellation is to come,” 29-year-old Darrell Holman said, who owes $97,000 in student debt while attending Eastern Michigan University.