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Student Loan Debt Relief: Americans Are Split Along Party, Age Lines


A narrow majority of Americans support President Joe Biden’s reported plan to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for most borrowers, according to recent polling – though that support is largely divided along party and demographic lines.

Key Facts

A trio of surveys all found similar results: a Morning Consult/Politico poll in June among 2,006 registered voters found 51% support forgiving $10,000, an NPR/Ipsos survey of 1,022 adults conducted last month found 55% of respondents back the cancellation of up to $10,000 and an Economist/YouGov survey of 1,500 adults in July found 51% of Americans are in favor of that threshold.

An overwhelming majority of the support comes from the left, as 72% of registered Democrat respondents to the Economist/YouGov poll 71% of registered Democrat respondents to the Morning Consult/Politico survey backed $10,000 of forgiveness, compared to 28% and 31% among Republican respondents to the respective polls.

Support for the measure is similarly divided by age: 65% of respondents to the Morning Consult/Politico survey ages 18 to 34 and 61% of those ages 35 to 44 want Biden to forgive $10,000 per borrower compared to just 45% ages 45 to 64 and 39% over 65 years old.

A CNN/SSRS poll of 1,007 adults conducted in April and May also found support for student loan forgiveness largely depends on age and political party.

Some 56% of Democrats told CNN the government is broadly doing too little to address the issue compared to 33% of Republican respondents, while 61% of respondents below the age of 45 said the government isn’t doing enough compared to 38% of respondents 45 years old and up.

Key Background

Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Biden is eyeing $10,000 in federal student loan relief per person, likely for those with an annual salary below a cap of between $125,000 and $150,000. Many believe the timing of Biden’s decision is designed to rally support for Democrats ahead of November’s midterm elections, especially among young voters. The moratorium on federal student loan debt repayments is set to expire August 31, jeopardizing a pause in place since the early days of the pandemic. Biden told reporters last month he planned to make a decision on student loans by the end of August, though it’s unclear if he was referring to extending the moratorium or announcing a forgiveness policy.

Big Number

$1.75 trillion. That’s how much Americans owed in student loan debt at the end of the first quarter of 2022, according to the St. Louis Federal Reserve.

Further Reading

Student Loan Decision Coming From Biden This Month—Here’s What We Know (Forbes)