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Penn Law Students Criticize Biden’s Student Loan Comments

Law students at Penn Law School are demanding school officials to arrange a meeting on student debt with the Biden administration. This comes after the president said that he is wary of cancelling debt for people who went to Ivy League schools

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that over 100 students and alumni have collectively signed an open letter criticizing the president’s statement and urging Penn officials to take action.

“We refuse to allow the stereotype of an Ivy League student excuse the Biden Administration from implementing debt cancellation for millions of Americans, many of whom are our own loved ones,” the open letter states. “We have written this open letter to achieve two goals: namely, debunk President Biden’s argument against student loan relief and request that the University of Pennsylvania Administration arrange a meeting between the Biden Administration and a group of students and alumni who hold federal student loan debt from both Penn and other institutions.”

Some Penn Law students argue that student debt relief would benefit underrepresented students.

“[Student debt relief] would significantly relieve students of color and all low-income students from the unfair burden of being disproportionately obligated to contract for debt in order to obtain an education, pursue a career, be able to afford a decent life, and meaningfully contribute to the economy,” Magali Duque, a rising third-year at Penn Law, tells The Daily Pennsylvanian.

Others also called Biden’s statement misleading.

“There’s this misconception that most people who graduate from Ivy League universities come from privileged families that have the means to help them with their debt. But it’s not true,” Kristen Smith, a 2015 Penn School of Social Practice and Policy graduate, tells The Daily Pennsylvanian.

In the open letter, students state that the university has a duty to support loan forgiveness in order to reduce the racial wealth gap – something that, students say, Penn has greatly benefited from. The full cost for one year at Penn Law currently costs $102,918.

“As one of the nation’s oldest and wealthiest universities, the University of Pennsylvania has capitalized on the racial wealth gap via its profitable role in chattel slavery and the displacement of the Black Bottom neighborhood to build University City,” the open letter states. “We, the undersigned Penn students and alumni, feel that Penn must use its ties to the Biden Administration to advocate for closing the racial wealth gap that our institution contributed to through student loan forgiveness.”

Sources: The Daily Pennsylvanian, NPR, Penn Law