Statement from MCAN Executive Director Ryan Fewins-Bliss:

“MCAN is encouraged by the announcement of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan and the progress that it makes in addressing the persistent and widespread problem of postsecondary affordability. Decades of rising college costs and decreased investment in state-based financial aid have placed a growing financial burden on college students — a burden that weighs most heavily on students of color, first-generation college-going students and low-income students. As noted by Governor Whitmer, this program has the potential to wipe out the student loan debt for over 400,000 Michiganders, and greatly reduce debt for hundreds of thousands more. Student loan forgiveness will provide a boost to Michigan’s economy, as families have more money to spend in local communities on necessities that we’ve seen increase in price due to growing inflation.

While loan forgiveness is an important step in addressing the student debt crisis, MCAN encourages our policymakers at both the federal and state levels to address the systemic problems that have led to the current situation. We must create more innovative funding models, such as community-based scholarship programs. We must work together to lower student loan interest rates that leave many borrowers underwater despite years of consistent payments. We need to offer more financial aid opportunities that increase access and prepare our students for the 21st century workforce. By creating systems-level change around college affordability, we can continue our momentum toward Sixty by 30 and build a stronger workforce prepared to meet the needs of today and tomorrow’s economy.”