Maya Wiley, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Biden administration’s student loan debt relief for certain borrowers.
A majority of the Supreme Court has refused to recognize the clear authority granted by Congress in a bipartisan law to allow the Secretary of Education to waive student loan debt in an emergency the likes of which we have not previously experienced.
The $1.7 trillion student debt crisis continues to crush individuals, families and our economy, a burden exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of this decision is to deny 26 million people the relief they desperately need. In our current system, these borrowers have no choice but to shoulder the burden themselves because the system benefits the wealthy and privileged at the expense of low-income students. Debt relief is still urgently needed, especially for borrowers of color who bear the disproportionate burden of our debt financed system of higher education. Today’s decision, when coupled with the court’s devastating school admissions ruling, closes the door to opportunity for communities who deserve better.
Our nation’s future depends on making sure everyone gets a real opportunity for success, especially young people and the Asian American, Latino, Indigenous and Black communities, who have been systemically and historically denied equal opportunities. It also depends on a system of higher education that works to achieve a thriving, multiracial democracy. We must all work together to achieve that goal.
Congress can and must take action to end our system of debt-financed higher education and help those who have been harmed. Instead, we see too many politicians seeking to drive fear and division. For every student and graduate rightfully outraged by the Supreme Court’s action today, remember you hold the power to decide who will solve these problems: vote. We are the ones we have been waiting for.
About The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 250 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit civilrights.org.