Alliance for Youth Action Urges Congress to Cancel Student Loan Debt in the Midst of Healthcare Emergency


Friday, March 20, 2020

Media Contact:
Carmel Pryor, Senior Director of Communications


The Alliance for Youth Action network demands leaders in Washington pass the emergency student loan payment and relief plan proposed by Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Ranking Member Patty Murray (D-WA), Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Development Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

This plan would provide much-needed relief to federal student loan borrowers through immediate cancellation of monthly student loan payments for the duration of the national emergency caused by the spread of the coronavirus, and a pay down of a minimum $10K for all federal student loan borrowers.

In our latest poll with HIT Strategies, we found that young people were feeling financially squeezed even before the pandemic. Forty-seven percent of survey respondents ages 17 – 35 said they will be worse off financially than the previous generation. Seventy-four percent of young people feel they are economically either staying the same or falling behind.

“This public health crisis is revealing the economic insecurity of many Americans, which includes crippling student loan debt,” said Sarah Audelo, Executive Director of the Alliance for Youth Action. “ Too many in our generation have been held back by the student debt they incurred while trying to gain an education to support themselves and their families. This unprecedented time in our history calls for unprecedented leadership to repair the social ills that COVID-19 is unearthing. We can’t afford to do business as usual.”

“As young people in Colorado know, the economic future of our entire generation is under threat because of student loan debt,” said Nicole Hensel, Executive Director of New Era Colorado. “Right now, Americans need to focus on staying healthy and meeting their basic needs, not paying their student loans.” New Era Colorado, one of our affiliates, is currently pushing to pass the “Get On Your Feet” bill that would cover the first two years of loan payments for new Colorado graduates.

“In Ohio, black students particularly feel the impacts of student debt because broken higher ed systems disproportionately impact minority-serving institutions,” said Prentiss Haney, Executive Director of Ohio Student Association. “We know that Coronavirus will impact people living in the margins the most. That is why this student debt relief plan is needed now to help ease this burden for Ohioans and the entire country.” Ohio Student Association, one of our affiliates, released a new report with Policy Matters on the student debt collection practices that hurt black students in Ohio.

The Alliance for Youth Action network of youth-led local organizations has been on the forefront of addressing how our economy can work for all Americans through our Broke AF campaign. We believe young people should have a path to upward economic mobility. This requires building an economy where working young people aren’t crippled by student loan debt and a high cost of living, and can participate in workplace democracy where workers have a seat at the table and a stake in the profits.

We believe that this proposal is a critical step to ensuring student loan debt borrowers get the relief they need during this unprecedented time.


The Alliance for Youth Action is a nationwide network of organizations building the progressive political power of young people across America to strengthen our democracy, fix our economy, and correct injustices through on-the-ground organizing. The Alliance supports and scales the work of local organizations to build a movement of young people, by young people, and for all people.