“We know education can change a person’s means and access to wealth,” said Gonzalez in a press release. “Pursuing higher education should not require students and families to jeopardize their financial stability or futures. I am proud to introduce this legislation and take this major step to prevent this crushing debt from stifling the American Dream.”
According to the Department of Education, the total outstanding federal student loan debt as of the fourth quarter of 2021 amounted to $1.6 trillion among 43.4 million recipients.
While that makes the average student loan per individual around $37,000, there are notable gaps between students who have smaller amounts of outstanding debt and others who owe significantly more.
For instance, the Department of Education reports that 7.7 million borrowers owed less than $5,000, while another 900,000 borrowers owed more than $200,000.
Altogether, taking all brackets of borrowers that the agency lists in their data into consideration, Gonzalez’s $25,000 loan cancellation per individual would cost taxpayers $741.8 billion.
The legislation is similar to a bill that he filed in the fall of 2020, H.R. 8514, which likewise would have directed the cancellation of $25,000 in federal student loans for each recipient.
Under the bill, the $25,000 cancellation would apply to loans with “the highest applicable rate of interest” before being applied to student loans with lower interest rates.
Since the pandemic began during the Trump administration, federal student loan repayments and interest have been paused by the Department of Education. That pause has continued under the Biden administration, with the current pause slated through May 1, 2022.
Gonzalez is currently seeking reelection to the 34th Congressional District, which he was drawn into during the redistricting process last fall. The district is safer for Democrats than the boundaries of his current district.
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Daniel Friend is the Marketing and Media Manager for The Texan. After graduating with a double-major in Political Science and Humanities, he wrote for The Texan as a reporter through June 2022. In his spare time, you're likely to find him working on The Testimony of Calvin Lewis, an Abolition of Man-inspired novel and theatrical podcast.