PSU-AAUP Calls for Student Debt Cancellation

June 14, 2021 / PSU-AAUP

The PSU-AAUP Executive Council endorsed the following statement supporting student debt cancellation on June 10, 2021. 


WHEREAS, between the 1940s and 1980s, millions of Americans gained four year degrees at public universities without incurring debt, while 45 million Americans are now burdened–often for life–with $1.7 trillion in student debt,[1] and research has demonstrated that cancelling student loan debt and eliminating debt in higher education would infuse local communities with funds, and present enormous economic opportunities for communities across the United States to increase local spending, create better jobs, and provide a deeply needed stimulus during the pandemic[2],[3]

WHEREAS, women[4]; Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander, and other communities of color[5]; LGBTQIA+ individuals[6]; economically disadvantaged residents; and young adults and elderly people experience the impacts of student debt and debt most acutely[7], and cancelling it would advance racial, gender, generational, and economic justice[8],[9];

WHEREAS, abolishing of student debt also represents an incredible moral opportunity to support our communities, addressing some racial and gender wage gaps, and providing better overall health outcomes to the general population since debt is associated with negative mental and physical health outcomes, like stress, depression, general health, obesity and mortality[10];

WHEREAS, cancelling student debt would advance democracy at a critical moment for the country, freeing up millions of Americans to participate in public life, and cancelling debt

is a policy that is strongly supported across all political parties and across the country, and President Joe Biden and the Democrats committed to some form of student debt cancellation during the 2020 election;

WHEREAS, student debt cancellation is only one step toward relief and a better higher education system, and examples from overseas[11] show the need for elimination of full student loan debt and investment in and pathways toward College for All and other programs to support higher education as a public good that is necessary for a functioning democracy;

WHEREAS, elimination of debt in higher education and pathways to education as a public good represents substantial opportunities to increase economic and public health security, expand prosperity for local residents, and save cities, municipalities, and states money;

NOW THEREFORE IT BE RESOLVED by the Executive Council of PSU-AAUP calls for the Federal Government to commit to cancel all student debt. 

PSU-AAUP requests that the Federal Government enacts a plan to cancel student debt and begin the transition to education as a public good.


[1] Federal Reserve Board, Consumer Credit, December 7, 2020

[2] Fullwiler, Scott, Stephanie Kelton, Catherine Ruetschlin, and Marshall Steinbaum, “The Macroeconomic Effects of Student Debt Cancellation,” Levy Economics Institute, February 2018

[3] Hoffower, Hillary and Madison Hoff, “The case for cancelling student debt isn’t political—it’s practical. Here are the benefits of erasing $1.6 trillion, no strings attached,” Business Insider, December 5, 2020  

[4] “Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans”, AAUW, 2020

[5] “Student Loan Debt by Race”, EducationData.org, 2021

[6] Kuchar, Kristen, “LGBTQ Community Faces Greater Challenges with Student Loans and Paying for College.” Savingforcollege.Com, April 7, 2020

[7] “Average Student Loan Debt by Age”, EducationData.org, 2021

[8] Sainato, Michael, “Americans Stress over ‘Unshakeable Burden’ of Student Loan Payments.” The Guardian, May 30, 2021

[9] Rockeman, Olivia, and Catarina Saraiva, “Millennials Age 40 With No Home, More Debt Run Out of Time to Build Wealth.” Bloomberg.Com, June 3, 2021

[10] Body, Dyvonne, “The Burden of Debt on Mental and Physical Health”, The Aspen Institute, August 2, 2018

[11] Goetz, Lisa, “6 European Countries with Virtually Free College Tuition”, Investopedia, February 6, 2021

Blog Categories