Poll: 52% of Respondents in Favor of Blanket Student Loan Forgiveness

sad millennial struggling with student loan debt
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Although President Joe Biden did not include a student debt cancellation provision in his proposed American Families Plan, he has said that he would support a move by Congress to cancel $10,000 per borrower, CNN reported. Biden has also directed Education Secretary Miguel Cardona to write a memo on the president’s legal authorities that would enable Biden to take executive action to broadly forgive federal student loans.

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Biden’s student loan forgiveness proposals have faced critics on both sides of the aisle. Some leaders in the Democratic Party believe Biden isn’t going far enough, and are calling for the broad cancellation of $50,000 per borrower. Others have argued that attending college is a privilege and those who have loans are already in a higher socio-economic class to begin with, so student loan forgiveness is regressive.

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But what do the American people think? According to a recent GOBankingRates poll, they are widely in support of student loan forgiveness for everyone with student loan debt. The survey asked over 3,600 Americans, “Which approach to student loan forgiveness do you think the U.S. should adopt?” and the majority — 52% — said that they were in support of “blanket loan forgiveness for all borrowers.”

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Other respondents believe that student loan forgiveness should only be granted in certain situations — 12% support loan forgiveness for those with low income and high debt, 11% support loan forgiveness for those in public service and 4% support temporary loan forgiveness through the pandemic.

On the other hand, 1 in 5 Americans does not believe that the federal government should undertake loan forgiveness.

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Older Americans Are Divided About Student Loan Forgiveness

The GOBankingRates poll found that the majority of both men and women are in support of blanket student loan forgiveness, as are most Americans across age groups. However, there is more of a split in opinions among the 65+ age group — 39% support blanket student loan forgiveness for all borrowers and 36% do not believe that the federal government should undertake loan forgiveness.

This finding is particularly interesting given that student loan forgiveness would benefit older Americans the most. According to a recent CNBC report, more than 20% of the country’s outstanding student loan debt is held by people over the age of 50, with borrowers ages 62 and older still owing an average of $37,739.

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Methodology: An original poll posted to GOBankingRates collected responses from 3,633 people from April 16, 2021 to May 18, 2021. The poll asked respondents: “Which approach to student loan forgiveness do you think the U.S. should adopt?” GOBankingRates used CivicScience to conduct the poll. Results are unweighted. Demographic insights were discovered by comparing respondent profiles across a wide range of attributes. Data was analyzed on June 10, 2021.

Last updated: June 17, 2021

About the Author

Gabrielle joined GOBankingRates in 2017 and brings with her a decade of experience in the journalism industry. Before joining the team, she was a staff writer-reporter for People Magazine and People.com. Her work has also appeared on E! Online, Us Weekly, Patch, Sweety High and Discover Los Angeles, and she has been featured on “Good Morning America” as a celebrity news expert. 

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