February 22, 2024
NAACP President Derrick Johnson praised President Joe Biden's student debt handout plan on Wednesday but said they still have "a ways to go."

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The NAACP praised President Biden’s handout of $20,000 in student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 for other borrowers whomake less than $125,000 a year, but said more work needs to be done. 

“We’ve got a ways to go, but the NAACP is proud that we were able to push President Biden to exceed $10,000, bringing us closer to $50,000 and beyond,” NAACP President Derrick Johnson said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The president framed the plan as providing “targeted relief” for people saddled with “unsustainable debt.” 

“People can start to finally crawl out from under that mountain of debt to get on top of their rent and their utilities, to finally think about buying a home or starting a family or starting a business,” Biden said at the White House.

President Joe Biden announces student loan relief with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (R) on August 24, 2022 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC. 

President Joe Biden announces student loan relief with Education Secretary Miguel Cardona (R) on August 24, 2022 in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC.  (Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images)

The NAACP, which has been lobbying the Biden administration to wipe out a “minimum” of $50,000 in student loan debt for each borrower, initially slammed reports on Tuesday that the president was planning a government handout of just $10,000. 

BIDEN ANNOUNCES STUDENT LOAN HANDOUT AS NATIONAL DEBT SOARS

Pell Grant recipients, which make up about 60% of the borrower population, will now have up to $20,000 in student debt forgiven. Roughly 27 million people will be eligible for $20,000 in relief, according to the Department of Education. 

“Americans across the country, including millions of HBCU attendees, will benefit from this decision,” Johnson said Wednesday. “We encourage the Biden Administration to grant qualifying borrowers the promised relief quickly, without the red tape and bureaucracy that prevented millions from receiving public service loan forgiveness.”

A sign asking President Biden to cancel student debt is seen posted on Pennsylvania Ave near the White House staff entrance during a demonstration July 27, 2022. 

A sign asking President Biden to cancel student debt is seen posted on Pennsylvania Ave near the White House staff entrance during a demonstration July 27, 2022.  (Jemal Countess/Getty Images for We, The 45 Million)

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A one-time forgiveness of $10,000 for borrowers who make less than $125,000 will cost around $300 billion, according to a Penn Wharton Budget Model.

The handout of $50,000 per borrower, which the NAACP has been pushing for, would cost taxpayers about $980 billion, according to the analysis.