The 21st Show

Illinoisans react to Biden’s student debt relief


Reginald Hardwick/Illinois Newsroom

The Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in relief for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for non-Pell Grant recipients following President Biden's announcement regarding student loan debt relief. The income cap is $125,000 for single borrowers and $250,000 for married couples. The loan repayment will resume January 2023.

What does this decision mean for the roughly 45 million Americans saddled with over $1.6 trillion in outstanding student loan debt? The 21st discussed this as well as how student loan debt forgiveness – and even cancellation – fits into frameworks for racial and gender justice.


Elizabeth Tandy Shermer, Ph.D. 
Associate Professor, Department of History, Loyola University Chicago, author of Indentured Students: How Government-Guaranteed Loans Left Generations Drowning in College Debt

Janice Gassam Asare, Ph.D. 
Anti-racist educator, DEI consultant, professor, and writer of Why Student Loan Debt Cancellation Is A Racial Justice Issue

Ami Schneider 
Chicago-area Organizer, Debt Collective