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October 12, 2022

VIDEO: Pressley Meets with Borrowers, Advocates to Highlight Benefits of Student Debt Cancellation for Parents & Families

Video (YouTube)

BOSTON – Today, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) joined parent borrowers and advocates from the Student Debt Crisis Center (SDCC) and Parents Together for a virtual roundtable discussion on the impacts of student debt cancellation on parents and families, and what student debt cancellation means for them.

Last month, Rep. Pressley, along with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Congresswoman Ilhan Omar (MN-05) and Congressman Mondaire Jones (NY-17), joined student borrowers and advocates at a Capitol Hill press conference to call for swift, efficient and equitable implementation of President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan. Rep. Pressley also recently joined the White House and the Department of Education in unveiling state-by-state data on the wide-reaching positive impact of student debt cancellation.

Joining Rep. Pressley at the roundtable today were SDCC President and Founder Natalia Abrams, Parents Together Executive Director Allison Johnson, and parent borrowers Angel and Kadijah.

“The stories of impacted borrowers affirm that student debt cancellation will change and save lives,” said Rep. Pressley. “Conversations like these demonstrate the powerful potential of President Biden’s student debt relief plan, and I look forward to continuing to shine a light on how impactful it will be for the millions of parents and families across the country. Thank you to our partners at Student Debt Crisis Center and Parents Together for hosting this important discussion and to each borrower who shared their personal story.”

“This event is an important reminder that student debt is a multi-generational crisis that harms Americans of all ages. Parents face some of the most difficult challenges — managing their student debt, taking out loans to pay for their children’s education, and doing all of this while supporting their family’s basic needs,” said Natalia Abrams, Student Debt Crisis Center President and Founder. “We thank the parents who joined today’s event, and millions of others, who have had the courage to share their stories and struggles. Their voices prove that the President’s student debt cancellation plan has wide-reaching benefits for millions of families nationwide.”

“Millions of families across the country struggling to make ends meet are saddled with student debt that’s preventing them from supporting their families and investing in their futures. Too many parents are still working to pay off their own debt, while also taking on additional loans to help pay for their children’s education,” said Allison Johnson of ParentsTogether. “President Biden’s loan forgiveness plan is a vital first step in alleviating this crisis. From building a savings account for the first time to finally being able to purchase a home or starting a college fund for their own children, lifting the weight of student debt will help so many families.”

“My daughter and I have had to be thrifty… I owe more now than I did when I took out the loans,” said Kadijah Turay-Sengova.” Through the payment pause, I was able to realize what [this debt] meant to our lives. It’s a weight that you carry around that’s almost suffocating at times. [The cancellation] means that we are moving in the right direction. Again, grateful but hopeful for the capacity of more happening.”

“There was always dread when the phone rang and it rang three or four times a day. And this led to a lot of anxiety for my family and especially my son who was already experiencing anxiety,” said Angel. “[The cancellation] is going to be a relief but a little more would be helpful. I just had high hopes for my son and I just wanted the best for him. We just want the best for our kids. I hope when this all gets resolved he’ll relook at education as something that isn’t a burden on him.”

Angel is a single mother based in Oregon who took out Parent Plus loans to help with her son’s college education. Her loans added up to $31K with a 7% interest rate. Angel was targeted by a predatory loan consolidation company that claimed they would help her with her debt. After a year’s worth of payments, she discovered through her bank statements that her payments were going to a completely different company that had nothing to do with paying off her loans. She is still paying off her parent plus loans, and together with her son’s loans, she estimates to owe $40K+ in loans. 

Kadijah Turay-Sengova is an attorney at Best & Associates, LLP who resides in Delaware County, PA. She is a single parent and has a 6 year old daughter. Kadijah has borrowed over $100K in student loans. She initially was paying off her loans through a private loan servicer until she learned she could consolidate her loans through the department of education. Now that she has consolidated her loans, she has been able to benefit from the moratorium on student loan repayments. The pause on repayments has allowed her to catch up on expenses and bills, invest in her daughter’s education, and enroll her daughter in extracurricular activities that are enriching to her child’s development.

For years, Rep. Pressley, in partnership with House and Senate colleagues, and alongside borrowers, advocates and organizers, have consistently called on President Biden to cancel student debt.

Last year, Rep. Pressley, Senator Warren, and Leader Schumer, along with Reps. Omar and Jones, led their colleagues in reintroducing their bicameral resolution outlining a plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis by using existing authority under the Higher Education Act to cancel federal student loan debt.