School Committee Calls for Cancellation of Student Loan Debt

The Chelsea School Committee at their Aug. 26 meeting became the first elected board in the nation to pass a resolution calling upon President Joseph Biden to cancel all student debt for millions of American who have taken out student loans for higher education.

School Committeeman Roberto Jimenez Rivera, speaking on the motion, said, “Student debt has grown too high. The average debt owed by students is $17,000.  This debt is harmful to both individuals and the economy.”

“This debt is a challenge to the American Dream,” added Chairwoman Kelly Garcia-Mirza.

The resolution passed unanimously. The following is the resolution:

Resolution Calling on the Federal Government to Cancel All Student Debt

WHEREAS, Cancelling student loan debt and eliminating debt in higher education represents an enormous economic opportunity for Chelsea to create better jobs, increase spending in our local communities, support upward social mobility for individuals; and provide a deeply needed stimulus during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic; and

WHEREAS, While student debt is a burden experienced by a wide variety of people, including both young adult and older residents, it disproportionately impacts low-income, Black, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian and Pacific Islander, and other communities of color; and

WHEREAS, The abolition of student debt also represents an incredible moral opportunity for Chelsea to support residents, address racial and gender wage gaps, and provide better overall health outcomes to the general population since debt is associated with negative mental and physical health outcomes, like stress, depression, general health, obesity and mortality; and

WHEREAS, Cancelling student debt is a policy that is strongly supported across the country, with President Biden having publicly expressed interest in some form of student debt cancellation; and

WHEREAS, Student debt cancellation is only one step toward relief and a better higher education system, and examples locally and internationally show the need for elimination of full student loan debt and investment in and pathways toward programs to support higher education as a public good; and

WHEREAS, We have an obligation as the Chelsea School Committee to fight for justice in all spaces, particularly as it relates to economic empowerment and education;

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the Chelsea School Committee calls for the Federal Government to commit to cancel all student debt and that President Biden enact a plan by the end of his first hundred days in office to cancel student debt and to begin the transition to education as a public good.

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