Attorney General Ellison calls for full cancelation of federal student loan debt
Joins AG coalition urging President Biden to cancel all publicly held debts for student borrowers
May 4, 2022 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today joined a multistate coalition of eight attorneys general in urging President Biden to fully cancel federal student debt owed by every federal student loan borrower in the country. In a letter to President Biden, Attorney General Ellison and the coalition stress that borrowers struggling with the unmanageable burden of student loan debt need immediate relief. The attorneys general acknowledge the administration’s commitment to addressing the issue; however, the coalition urges President Biden to immediately exercise his authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel all federal student loan debt for every borrower.
“My job is to help everyone afford their lives, and canceling crushing federal student debt will help the economy as a whole,” Attorney General Ellison said. “Working folks who are struggling with debt in a time of high inflation — when the economy is already stacked against them — will be able to get ahead. Canceling federal student debt will free folks up to spend their income on essential goods and services, which will send a surge through the economy that will benefit everyone. By allowing folks to have a better shot at buying home and save for retirement, it will also substantially help close the racial wealth gap. Crushing federal student debt makes life hard for our kids, concentrates wealth in the hands of a few, a contributes to making our economy inequitable and unfair. I’ve joined this coalition to strongly encourage President Biden to use his legal authority to strike a blow for equity and fairness by canceling it.”
In February 2021, Attorney General Ellison joined another multistate coalition of attorneys general in asking Congress to adopt a resolution that called for the cancellation of up to $50,000 in federal student debt owed by each and every federal student loan borrower nationwide.
Currently, student borrowers owe more than $1.7 trillion to the federal government. In their letter, the coalition argues that a full cancelation of student debt is necessary to address the sheer enormity of debts owed, systemically flawed repayment and forgiveness systems, and the disproportionate impact of the debt burden on millions of borrowers. While Attorney General Ellison and state attorneys general have taken key actions to ease debt burdens wherever possible, the coalition contends that only permanent action by the Biden administration can provide the widespread relief that is needed by millions of federal student loan borrowers.
Among other actions, in recent years the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office has:
- Won $40 million in debt forgiveness and restitution for defrauded former students of Minnesota School of Business/Globe University’s so-called “criminal justice” program and additional debt relief related to illegal private loans made by the schools, concluding a seven-year lawsuit.
- Secured $14 million in debt-cancellation and restitution for Minnesotans as part of $1.85B multistate settlement with loan servicer Navient.
- Secured $2.1 million in private debt relief for former Argosy University students and led the charge for additional federal loan relief for Argosy students affected by the school’s abrupt closure.
- Secured $1.6 million in loan relief and $1 million in debt relief for former ITT Tech students, and applied for additional federal loan relief for Minnesotans who attended ITT under false pretenses
- Shut down and secured refunds from fraudulent student-loan debt-relief companies.
In addition, Attorney General Ellison also fought against and sued to stop former Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from implementing federal rules designed to thwart debt relief for defrauded students and remove accountability for for-profit schools.
The Attorney General’s Office publishes a Student Loan Handbook to provide guidance and information to students facing hardships with student debt or considering taking out student loans.
Joining Attorney General Ellison in sending today’s letter to President Biden are the attorneys general of Hawaii, Illinois, Michigan, New Mexico, New York, Puerto Rico, and Washington.