WBA Debate Topic: Student Loan Forgiveness and Racial Wealth Gap

1. The White House’s student loan forgiveness plan is widely supported by young Americans. Many other voters believe it is unfair. Do you think it is fair to erase as much as $20,000 of a borrower’s debt? Why or why not?

2. One of the White House’s stated reasons for adopting student loan forgiveness is it would “narrow the racial wealth gap.” Just yesterday, a federal judge in Green Bay dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty. The lawsuit argued the White House plan had an “improper” racial motive. The group plans to appeal. At the federal level, whether it’s with student loans or anything else, what, if anything, should Congress do to address the racial wealth gap?

  • Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan criticized by Republicans and a few Democrats (CBS News)
  • Judge tosses Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty lawsuit challenging Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
  • Student debt exacerbates the racial wealth gap born from systemic racism leveled against Black families. A 2019 study from The Journal of Consumer Affairs found that, as of 2016, student debt accounted for between 3 and 7 percents of the racial wealth gap, and that student debt was growing.
  • In the United States, the average Black and Hispanic or Latino households earn about half as much as the average White household and own only about 15 to 20 percent as much net wealth (Federal Reserve)
  • June report on intergenerational wealth mobility (Brookings Institution)