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By Duvalier Malone

According to government officials, the Biden administration will put student loan debt on a “final” hold until Jan. 31, 2022. This is not enough for many people in the United States who are saddled with student loan debt.

Numerous inequalities occurred as a result of the global pandemic. These included educational disadvantages of rural and inner-city school districts, dietary inequities, racial inequity and healthcare access. Student loan relief for so many Americans is one issue that many Americans are not addressing during this worldwide pandemic.

Student loans are something I had to learn the hard way when I was in college. Having grown up poor in Mississippi as a first-generation college student, I didn’t have the luxury of having parents who could save for or pay for my education with their own money. Instead, I was forced to take out student loans to progress in life like so many other Americans. We can’t stay silent on this subject in the wake of the global epidemic, which has brought to light the enormous inequalities that many Americans endure across the country.

My parents were both unemployed when I was born, so I grew up in poverty. As much as I value devotion and hard effort, I’ve learned from personal experience that there’s more to success than just those two things.

What I’m about to say will likely offend many people since it goes against the popular belief that we’re all accountable for our own plight. In any case, I encourage you to continue reading since I want you to be familiar with and comprehend my tale.

My parents divorced when I was a baby, so I was raised in a single mother home on public assistance. We resided in one of the most destitute regions in the state of Mississippi.

It wasn’t just that we had to contend with poverty. Apart from that, my family had to struggle with my father’s crippling mental condition. Because of his mental state, my father suddenly lost the ability to display his love for us and instead abandoned my mother and his children.

With everything falling apart around her, my mother was left to assemble everything as best she could while also providing for her children and keeping them safe. My mother did everything she could to ensure her children were taken care of, and I will always be grateful for that. She always pushed us to be the best we could be. Her love couldn’t heal my father’s mental sickness. Her love could not keep food on the table or afford to send me to college debt-free, despite her best efforts.

A number of Americans have similar stories to myself but have dedicated themselves to getting a higher education by using the tool or student loans as a means to pay for education. However, after graduating from college, many Americans have lost their jobs due to unforeseen circumstances.  I graduated from college in 2008; many of my former classmates are unemployed or working a career where their salary will not pay back their student loan debt while supporting their families. To help the millions of Americans struggling with student loan debt, lawmakers must stop playing politics and start doing what is right for all Americans.

Currently, the United States owes $1.7 trillion in student loans. While the new administration is working on an infrastructure bill, Congress has made no preparations or progress to help the many Americans in this country who are in debt. There is no student loan forgiveness despite the fact that Democrats currently hold all three branches of government (the White House, United States Senate, and the House of Representatives). For 45 million American students, the future of their student loan debt is uncertain because there is no student loan forgiveness.

All Americans, regardless of socioeconomic condition, should have access to high-quality education. The Student Debt Cancellation Act of 2019 was drafted by Representative Ocasio-Cortez, who worked relentlessly in Congress to ensure that all outstanding federal and private student debts will be forgiven for all students, past, and present, in our educational system. Bypassing this legislation, Ocasio-Cortez and her colleagues want to free generations of Americans caught in student loan debt and unable to engage in the greater US economy.

Student loan forgiveness programs for all Americans must be implemented by legislators. This will positively impact the economy while also helping students struggling to pay off their student loans. As a result, borrowers of student loans will have more money to invest, save for the future, or start a business with. Lawmakers have become too far removed from the real issues affecting everyday Americans and need to be reminded of the student loan crisis in this country. 

Make a phone call to your legislators today if you have student debts and ask them to include a complete student loan cancellation in the infrastructure package before voting and submitting the legislation for President Biden’s signature.

Duvalier Malone

Duvalier Malone is an accomplished author, political columnist, motivational speaker, community activist and CEO of Duvalier Malone Enterprises, a global consulting firm delivering services to nonprofits and underserved communities throughout America.

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