By Mike Pierce | December 23, 2021
Throughout this past year, the SBPC fought to rewrite the rules for people with student debt. In a moment that demands sweeping change, we’ve made critical progress and will continue to work tirelessly to ensure families with student debt can prosper and to restore the promise of higher education as a gateway to the American Dream.
Driven by our advocacy and utilizing SBPC’s policy roadmaps, the Biden administration used executive action to pave the way for people with disabilities, people defrauded by predatory schools, and people working in public service to have their debts canceled outright—a series of unprecedented actions that have already canceled more than $12 billion in debt for nearly 650,000 people, with tens of billions of dollars in additional relief on the way.
We also led a coalition of hundreds of organizations representing tens of millions of students, student loan borrowers, workers, people of color, people of faith, people with disabilities, veterans, and others to protect and extend the ongoing pause on student loan payments. Together, we ensured that tens of millions of people with student debt were able to weather a year of public health and economic emergencies free from the burden of student debt.
Recently, amid the Omicron surge, we doubled down on our advocacy efforts to help secure another payment pause extension from the Biden administration further into 2022 – an enormous relief for families who would have been forced to choose between paying student loan bills and putting food on the table this winter.
Other critical work from the past year included exposing endemic corruption, abuse, and discrimination at the intersection of higher education and finance. SBPC investigations and litigation led to the collapse of a predatory coding bootcamp, spurred federal enforcement officials to pursue a big tech company accused of predatory student lending, and drove a multi-billion dollar lender to subject its use of artificial intelligence to independent monitoring to remedy allegations of racial discrimination.
These are just a few examples of the change-making work our team has accomplished over the past year. Our 2021 Highlights Report, available here, takes a closer look at the work we have done to protect students, borrowers, and their communities from the far-reaching effects of the student debt crisis and drive systemic change. With this combination of groundbreaking research, cutting-edge investigations, and aggressive policy advocacy, we will continue to reshape the student loan system and move markets in the year ahead.
We are just getting started.