RELEASE: Student loan debt forgiveness is a major opportunity to support BIPOC and young farmers


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:​ Jessica Manly, Communications Director, National Young Farmers Coalition
press@youngfarmers.org, 518-643-3564 ext. 722

Washington, D.C. (August 25, 2022) Yesterday, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a final student loan pause extension and targeted debt cancellation to smooth the transition to repayment. Specifically, this action is targeted to “borrowers with annual income during the pandemic of under $125,000 (for individuals) or under $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households) who received a Pell Grant in college will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation. Borrowers who met those income standards but did not receive a Pell Grant will be eligible for up to $10,000 in relief.”

“At the National Young Farmers Coalition, we support student loan cancellation, not just for young farmers, but for every student borrower—approximately 48 million people in the United States. And yet, we also understand that BIPOC borrowers are bearing the brunt of the student debt crisis. Student debt is a racial equity issue inhibiting BIPOC borrowers from achieving self-determination and stability, in farming or other careers. The President’s executive action on this critical issue is a significant step toward eliminating the burden of student loan debt,” said Vanessa Garcia Polanco, Policy Campaigns Co-Director at the National Young Farmers Coalition. 

According to the National Young Farmers Coalition’s most recent National Young Farmer Survey, 78.5% of young farmers hold an associate degree or higher, and 38% carry some student loan debt that inhibits them from building their farm businesses or accessing additional capital. And this challenge is even greater for BIPOC farmers; 45% of Black young farmers say that student loan debt presents a significant challenge to their farm businesses, compared to 24.6% of White young farmers. 

Student loan debt forgiveness is a major opportunity to support the next generation of young people aspiring to feed their communities and build careers in agriculture. According to the Survey, 20% of young farmers did not take out additional loans to support or grow their farm businesses because of existing student loan debt.

“We are grateful for the President’s announcement this week, for the work that the Department of Education and Secretary Miguel Cardona have done to bring this announcement to fruition. At the same time, we are cautiously optimistic in this political and cultural climate, that this action will be implemented swiftly and without complication. We look forward to working with partners who are leading in this space to ensure that this debt relief is fully accessible to all borrowers as it becomes a reality,” said David Howard, Policy Campaigns Co-Director at the National Young Farmers Coalition. 

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The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) is a national grassroots network of young farmers changing policy and shifting power to equitably resource the new generation of working farmers. Visit Young Farmers on the web at www.youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained

Debtors, It’s Time to Unionize by Sanders Fabares, published in In The Red (Out of the Darkness) Issue 1 The Case for Student Debt Cancellation by The Debt Collective [thedebtcollective.com]

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