Los Angeles, CA (March 11, 2022) — There are 46 million Americans with student loan debt that totals $1.75 trillion. The class of 2020 provides a stark example of this crippling debt with 55% of bachelor’s degree recipients graduating with an average of $28,400 in federal and private debt.
Payments on these loans as well as interest accumulation have been paused since March 2020 due to the economic crisis created by the COVID-19 pandemic. In less than 60 days, tens of millions of student loan borrowers, including young Angelenos and City employees, are slated to be thrown back into repayment on student loans as the economy experiences the highest rate of inflation in nearly four decades.
“Student loan debt cuts off the ladder to economic mobility making opportunities like owning a home or becoming financially independent increasingly difficult to obtain. Providing young Angelenos with financial literacy education including college aid is critical to helping them avoid student loan pitfalls” said Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez. “The Biden administration has made efforts to broaden student loan relief but there are still gaps that need to be addressed so that more young Angelenos can receive assistance.”
The system is rife with predatory lending practices that disproportionately impact students of color. Graduating with student loan debt hinders young people from fully participating in the economy and impacts their future financial gain.
The motions introduced today seek to address this issue with a dual approach. A suite of training programs that proactively provide education on financial literacy; saving and investing; college aid; and personal finances would be made available through the newly formed Youth Development Department (YDD). The second motion asks for a report from the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) for a $1 million stipend program for young Angelenos who complete the suite of training programs.
A resolution also introduced today provides legislative support for student debt relief reform. It acknowledges the federal public service loan forgiveness program along with the Biden administration’s effort to make it easier for some borrowers to qualify for loan forgiveness.
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Los Angeles City Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez represents the 7th Council District in the Northeast San Fernando Valley which include the neighborhoods of Sylmar, Mission Hills, Pacoima, Lake View Terrace, Sunland, Tujunga, North Hills, Shadow Hills, and La Tuna Canyon.