By Sean Lanigan
On Wednesday, March 17th, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) hosted a conference call with New York college students to discuss his plan to get rid of up to $50,000 in student loan debt per student. Schumer believes that if he is able to push this through, it will help people who are struggling financially.
Prior to the event, Schumer stated, “Millions of young Americans, including so many New Yorkers and their families have been crushed by student loan debt, greatly impeding their ability to begin careers and build the financial resources needed to rent apartments, buy homes, start families, or just simply build their futures.”
The New York Senator presented some staggering numbers from his state. New Yorkers owe a lot more than the national average. Schumer estimated that 2.4 million New Yorkers owe about $89.5 billion in federal student loans. Schumer stressed that the government has to create ways to make college a leg up for people to advance in the real world. He also believes that President Biden has the ability to use his executive powers to make this plan happen, avoiding the need to go through Congress. Schumer encouraged a national movement to contact the president to cancel up to $50,000 in debt for federal student borrowers.
Five Towns College Mass Comm student Aaron McLaughlin reflected on this proposal, "I think Schumer's plan will help, but I don't think students should be totally exempt from paying loans. I would like to see everyone meet each other halfway."
The Senator believes his debt reduction plan would be a huge boost to the economy because instead of paying federal loans, students can use that money to do things like go out to restaurants or buy a new car.
After speaking, Schumer took a few questions from students listening in on the call. A student from Fordham University asked the Senator what other plans and options would he and the party use to convince President Biden to push this plan through? Schumer responded, “We have a resolution urging Biden to do this, and it has a large number of Senators on it, including the two New York Senators. We don’t want to make it a law because then republicans can block it.”
Another student from SUNY Queens asked the Senator how this plan would ensure that that the debt doesn’t increase again in the future? Schumer replied, “We are looking at ways that we can reduce the cost of college before students entail this huge amount of debt. It would be better to eliminate the problem than having to deal with it when it comes up.”
College students throughout New York and all across the country will be closely watching to how this proposal develops.