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Lawmakers Visit Campus, Call for Student Loan Debt Forgiveness

Provision in American Relief Plan makes loan forgiveness tax-free

Posted in: Homepage News, University

From left, President Susan A. Cole, Senator Bob Menendez, Representative Bill Pascrell and Montclair State student Jasmine Metellus, Class of 2021, at a press conference regarding student debt forgiveness on Monday.

At a rainy news conference at Montclair State University on Monday, April 12, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Congressman Bill Pascrell Jr. (NJ-09) announced that they were calling on President Biden to relieve borrowers from paying back up to $50,000 of their federal student loans.

The President should use his authority to act on student loan debt, unleash the economic power of millions and drive the nation’s economic recovery from the pandemic, the lawmakers said.

A provision in the American Rescue Plan authored by Sen. Menendez and sponsored by Rep. Pascrell in the House makes college loan forgiveness tax-free and eliminates thousands of dollars in surprise tax bills, paving the way for the President to take “bold action,” said Menendez.

“Student loan forgiveness has the power to unleash a wave of consumer-driven growth in this country – and President Biden does not need Congress to do it. And with the American Rescue Plan now the law of the land, we no longer have to worry about slamming borrowers with surprise taxes on their forgiven debt,” Menendez said from the steps of the Student Center at Montclair State on April 12.

President Susan A. Cole, who welcomed the lawmakers to campus, said, “Making higher education affordable for all who aspire to it and have the ability to benefit from it is vitally important for our nation. I am grateful to Senator Menendez and Representative Pascrell for their consistent support for educational opportunity over many years and for their current efforts in support of President Biden’s proposal to address the problem of student debt.”

At the socially distant outdoor press conference, Senator Bob Menendez and Representative Bill Pascrell (speaking) called on President Biden to forgive up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.
“This has not been an easy year for anybody, but the burden on our students is very heavy. They have been robbed of a year of their lives,” said Rep. Pascrell. “Student debt loan forgiveness can be tax-free and give enormous flexibility to millions of Americans. Absolutely no one who wants to pursue an education and better themselves should be saddled with debts for the rest of their lives.”
Montclair State senior Jasmine Metellus said student debt forgiveness would “help narrow the racial wealth gap and put students in a better place when it comes to education and their finance.”
News media from across the region stayed dry under tents.