President Joseph R. Biden
The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington DC 20500
November 21, 2022
Dear Mr. President,
We thank you for taking historic action to tackle the student debt crisis in our country and promising life-changing relief to millions of federal student loan borrowers. In just over one month, more than 26 million borrowers have applied for student loan debt relief—further evidence of the crushing burden this debt has had on workers and families from all walks of life and the promise debt cancellation will have for millions seeking an economic fresh start.
But in mid November, a Trump-appointed judge in Texas, followed by a panel of Republican appointed judges in Missouri blocked that critical debt relief. As a result, millions of borrowers—including 16 million whose applications have already been processed and approved—remain stranded in economic limbo. We applaud your Administration’s commitment to fighting against these lawsuits and immediately appealing these decisions.
In fewer than 45 days, as tens of millions of student loan borrowers remain closer than ever to historic debt relief, student loan payments are set to resume for the first time in nearly three years. This threatens to set borrowers back financially as our country grapples with the lasting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as our economy continues to experience the highest level of inflation in nearly four decades, and as government regulators sound alarms on rising levels of borrower distress. We, the undersigned 225 organizations, urge you to immediately extend the payment pause until your Administration is able to fully implement debt relief for all eligible borrowers and to continue to use every legal authority at your disposal to make this relief real.
At the same time that student loan borrowers are facing financial catastrophe, a growing body of evidence shows that the companies contracted by the Department to assist borrowers in enrolling in the existing set of affordable repayment plans and navigating other student loan discharge options remain woefully unprepared for payments to resume. It is important to remember that these borrowers have student debt because the cost of college, a critical pathway to the middle class, has spiraled out of control. They also have this debt because past administrations routinely broke their promises to deliver affordable loan payments and debt relief. These borrowers deserve more than another broken promise.
The cost of yet another broken promise to people with student debt will be immense. Just two weeks ago, a new generation of voters were mobilized and driven to the polls in part by the momentum from your promise to deliver on student debt. We urge you to use every legal tool in the government's toolbox in order to keep their faith in government and show them that, despite the threats to it, our democracy is capable of listening to their concerns and meeting their needs.
As you explained to the American people when you announced your intent to restart student loan payments in January 2023, your Administration’s monumental debt relief plan is a necessary first step to protect borrowers and prevent disastrous loan defaults and other financial distress, particularly in light of the ongoing economic challenges facing our nation as a result of the pandemic.
We cannot allow these blatantly political lawsuits to throw millions of borrowers into financial catastrophe. Throwing millions of borrowers back into repayment as the state of debt relief remains uncertain is a recipe for disaster and will result in widespread confusion and set borrowers up for failure.
We strongly urge you to extend the pause on student loan payments and continue to use every legal authority at your disposal to fight to ensure that borrowers receive the debt relief they need. We look forward to supporting your Administration as you take this necessary action and work to deliver on the promises made to student loan borrowers across the country.
1000 Woman Strong AACTE Accountable.US Adasina Social Capital Agricultural Justice Project Alianza Nacional de Campesinas, Inc. Alliance for Youth Action American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine American Association of University Professors American Association of University Women American Civil Liberties Union American Federation of Government Employees, AFL-CIO American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) American Federation of Teachers American Library Association American Psychological Association American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund Association of Young Americans (AYA) Better Organizing to Win Legalization Center for American Progress Center for Responsible Lending Clean Energy Action Clinical Social Work Association
Committee of Interns and Residents/SEIU CommonDefense.us Community Food and Justice Coalition Consumer Action Consumer Federation of America Consumer Reports Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety Debt Collective Demand Progress Dream Defenders Family Values @ Work Formerly Incarcerated College Graduates Network HEAL Food Alliance Hempstead Project Heart Hispanic Federation Hunger Free America Inclusive America Indivisible International Federation of Professional and Technical Engineers (IFPTE) LCLAA League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) Legal Aid at Work Marbleseed Minority Veterans of America MPower Change Action Fund Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) NAACP National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners National Association of Social Workers National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients) National Consumers League National Education Association National Employment Law Project National League for Nursing National Nurses United National Urban League National Young Farmers Coalition NTEU Independent Staff Union OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates P Street/PCCC ParentsTogether Passengers United Pay Our Interns People's Parity Project Poligon Education Fund Poverty Project at the Inst. for Policy Studies Presente.org Public Citizen Public Counsel Public Good Law Center Rise, Inc. RootsAction.org Rural Coalition School Social Work Association of America Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill Student Borrower Protection Center Student Debt Crisis Center Students First Consulting Sugar Law Center for Economic & Social Justice The Common Market The Education Trust The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) The Revolving Door Project The Wallace Center The Young Invincibles UnidosUS United Church of Christ, Justice and Local Church Ministries United Food and Commercial Workers International Union University of California Student Association Voices for Progress We the 45M
State & Local Organizations
AFGE Local 252 AFGE Local 3354 AFGE Local 704 agriculture AKPIRG Alabama State Association of Cooperatives Arizona Students' Association Arkansas Community Organizations Associated Students at the University of California, Santa Barbara California Asset Building Coalition CAMEO - California Association for Micro Enterprise Opportunity CASH Campaign of Maryland Center for Economic Integrity CFPB Union NTEU 335 Chicago Foundation for Women Civil Service Bar Association CO Dem Party - Energy and Environmental Initiative College & Community Fellowship College Democrats of New York Community Health Councils (CHC) Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (Delaware) Community Service Society of NY Compañeras Campesinas Consumer Federation of California Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc. Economic Mobility Pathways (EMPath) Empower Our Future Farm to Table - New Mexico Farmers On the Move. Fertile Ground Hawaii State Teachers Association Hildreth Institute Housing and Economic Rights Advocates Illinois Stewardship Alliance Inversant Iowa CCI La Raza Centro Legal Louisiana Budget Project MAHA Maine Center for Economic Policy Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association Maryland Center for Collegiate Financial Wellness Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition Michigan Food and Farming Systems Missouri Jobs with Justice Mobilization for Justice Montgomery County MD Branch NAACP Mountain State Justice, Inc. NAACP Baltimore NAACP Calvert County Branch Youth Council NAACP UNIT 7716 National Association of Social Workers - Alabama Chapter National Association of Social Workers - California Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Colorado Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Connecticut Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Florida & Virgin Islands Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Georgia Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Guam Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Idaho Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Indiana Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Iowa Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Kentucky Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Maine Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Massachusetts Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Michigan Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Minnesota Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Mississippi Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Nebraska Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Nevada Chapter National Association of Social Workers - New Hampshire Chapter National Association of Social Workers - New Jersey Chapter National Association of Social Workers - New York City Chapter National Association of Social Workers - New York State Chapter National Association of Social Workers - North Carolina Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Ohio Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Oregon Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Tennessee Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Texas Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Vermont Chapter National Association of Social Workers - Washington Chapter National Association of Social Workers - West Virginia Chapter NC Climate Justice Collective New Era Colorado New Jersey Citizen Action New Jersey Institute for Social Justice NextGen California NOFA/Mass Northeast Organic Farming Association of New Hampshire (NOFA-NH) Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont (NOFA-VT) Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Working Group Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides Northwest Consumer Law Center OCA Greater Chicago OCA Greater Cleveland - Asian Pacific American Advocates Ohio Student Association Oregon Student Association Pennsylvania Council of Churches Public Higher Education Network of Massachusetts (PHENOM) Public Justice Center Public Law Center Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living RAISE Texas Rural Advancement Fund of the National Sharecroppers Fund, Inc. Rutgers University Student Assembly SEIU 509 SEIU Local 500 South Dakota Chapter of NASW Student Association of Syracuse University & SUNY-ESF Student Loan Fund Inc. Students United Suncoast NORML Texas Coalition of Rural Landowners Texas Mexico Border Coalition Community Based Organization The Farmworker Association of Florida The Foundation for Delaware County - Housing Opportunities Program for Equity (HOPE) The Land Connection THE ONE LESS FOUNDATION United Food and Commercial Workers Local 400 United Students Labor Action Coalition (USLAC at UCR) University Council - American Federation of Teachers University of Rochester Students’ Association Urban Tilth UT Student Government Assembly Board Virginia Poverty Law Center West Virginia Food and Farm Coalition World Farmers Inc Xavier University of Louisiana Student Government Association Zero Debt Massachusetts