“Black and brown students carry a heavy burden in the debt-for-diploma system” says Bottom Line, a national college admission and retention nonprofit.
In an expedited hearing of arguments in February, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear arguments on a case related to President Biden’s student loan debt relief plan. In response, Steve Colon, CEO of Bottom Line, an organization that partners with degree-aspiring Black and Brown students to get into and through college and successfully launch a career, issued the following statement:
“The Supreme Court’s ruling on the student debt relief case will have deep repercussions for millions, especially students of color, who graduate with a much more severe debt burden than their white counterparts in this debt-for-diploma system.
“According to recent statistics from The Education Initiative and The Education Trust, Black college graduates leave college with $25,000 more in debt on average than white students, and four years later nearly half of Black graduates owe 12.5% more than they initially borrowed, while women hold 2/3 of the nation’s 1.7 trillion in student loan debt, with Black Women feeling a compounded impact of inequity in job pay and opportunity.
“The Supreme Court should allow the student debt relief plan to go forward, and even if they do not, Congress should seriously study and then enact meaningful reforms of the student loan system.
“In addition to those reforms, there are solutions we’ve implemented in our programs that help students navigate this system, with successful outcomes. At Bottom Line, we partner with degree-aspiring Black and brown students from under-resourced communities for years to provide them with direct advice, counsel and support starting in their later high school years, through the college selection and financial aid process, course choices and career path trajectory, and the job search, prep and placement process. Additionally, the average debt at college graduation for a Bottom Line student was about $17,518 – a little more than half of the national average for a 4-year bachelor’s degree. While we believe that the Supreme Court should uphold this program, and that Congress should act, we also welcome partnership with cities and states to implement our programs in their college systems, to give those students who most need it a chance at success.”
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