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Two-thirds of Americans favor canceling some student loan debt for all borrowers: poll

Story at a glance

  • Most Americans support forgiving at least some debt for all borrowers who currently hold student loans, according to a new poll.

  • Three-quarters believe student debt is a serious issue, and more than half said academic institutions shoulder a lot of the blame due to rising tuition costs.  

  • The cost of college has doubled in the past two decades and is growing each year by 6.8 percent. 

Most Americans support forgiving at least some debt for the 43 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.7 trillion in student loans. 

A YouGov poll, conducted online May 2-6, found that about half of respondents favor forgiving at least $25,000 for all borrowers — about $15,000 more than the latest number floated by the Biden administration.  

Three-quarters of U.S. adults similarly agree that student debt is a serious issue in the U.S., and 56 percent of American believe colleges and universities shoulder a lot of the blame. Banks and other lenders followed closely behind academic institutions regarding who’s at fault.  

The cost of college has doubled in the past two decades and is growing each year by 6.8 percent, according to The Education Data Initiative. And data shows the average cost to attend an in-state public school for one year is $25,487.  

Students attending private schools pay nearly twice as much as the average single-year cost, doling out around $53,217. Both numbers cover tuition, fees and additional expenses.  


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Regardless of who Americans blame for the worsening debt crisis, they largely agree cancellation doesn’t resolve a crucial underlying issue. Seventy-one percent said canceling debt is not useful without addressing soaring tuition costs.  

Another 47 percent of respondents believe canceling student debt for all current holders would be unfair to those who have already eliminated their debt.  

The online poll included responses from 1,000 U.S. adults.  

Although progressive lawmakers and advocates have pushed the president to forgive $50,000 in debt per borrower, Biden has thus far elected to take a more measured approach. 

“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Biden said in April. “I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction, but I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.” 


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