Americans are divided on Biden's work on student loans, even those with debt, in response to AP-NORC poll – The Mercury News


WASHINGTON (AP) — During his campaign, President Joe Biden steadily touts his work to combat student debt and points to the Millions of people that received cancellations under his leadership. Yet relatively few Americans say they’re fans of his work on the topic, even amongst those with student loans.

Three in 10 U.S. adults say they approve of Biden's handling of the coed loan debt issue, while 4 in 10 disapprove, in response to a brand new poll from the University of Chicago's Harris School of Public Policy. The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs ResearchThe others are neutral or have no idea enough to say anything.

Among those answerable for unpaid student loans – whether for themselves or a member of the family – the Democratic president's prospects weren’t a lot better: 36 percent approved, 34 percent disapproved.

The poll shows a deep divide on the difficulty of student debt relief, although Biden makes it a campaign priorityThe president is pushing a brand new plan to repay student loan debt while also attempting to mobilize young adults and blacks and Hispanics — groups more more likely to prioritize student loan forgiveness but whose approval of the president is slipping.

After Biden's first try to cancel student loans across the board was rejected by the Supreme Court last 12 months, he proposed a more targeted plan that gives relief to specific categories of borrowers. The Biden administration has forgiven the coed debt of about 4 million people under existing programs.

Asher Marshall was in favor of Biden's first debt repayment plan. He would have reduced his $52,000 student loans somewhat. But in hindsight, Marshall says, it's clear that Biden made a promise he couldn't keep without Congress's input.

“He proposed something that sounded good to a lot of people in this country, but from the beginning there was no way to move forward with it,” said Marshall, 33, of Jacksonville, Illinois.

Melissa Mata feels abandoned by the president. The Houston native has $14,000 in student loans from a program she never accomplished, and he or she could have used the assistance Biden promised.

Now she plans to skip the November election or vote as an independent.

“They make such promises to get votes, but they don't keep their promises. So personally I wouldn't trust them,” says Mata, 34, an accountant.

Some others say Biden just isn’t accountable.

Samantha Kempf, a social employee from Howell, Michigan, has $78,000 in federal student loans for her bachelor's and master's degrees. Kempf, a Democrat, was upset when Biden's original plan failed, but she doesn't hold it against him.

“It was the Supreme Court that put an end to him,” says 32-year-old Kempf. “I don't blame him for that, because at least he tried to get something approved.”

Overall, Americans have a more cautious opinion of the Supreme Court's handling of this issue, the survey found: 15 percent are satisfied with its work on this issue, while around 1 / 4 disapprove.

About 4 in 10 adults think it is incredibly or very essential that the federal government provide student debt relief, an identical share say it just isn’t that essential or in no way essential, and a few quarter are in the center, saying they think it’s somewhat essential.

Younger adults give higher priority to government motion to scale back student loan debt: About half of those under 45 say it is incredibly or very essential, compared with three in 10 older adults who said so.

The political divide is even wider: 15 percent of Republicans say it is incredibly or very essential, compared with 58 percent of Democrats. The issue has change into a rallying point for Republicans, who often say taxpayers mustn’t be burdened with paying off other people's student debt.

Neil Wolf, 49, has paid off his student loans for 2 associate degrees, including a $23,000 loan he paid off within the Nineties. No one is forcing students to take out loans, and taxpayers mustn’t should pay for the repayments, said Wolf, a Republican.

“We give too much away. When you give everything away, no one appreciates what they have,” said Wolf of Denton, North Carolina. “Why should I pay for other people's loans?”

Steve Lesyk, a Republican from Gap, Pennsylvania, said he could support forgiveness in some cases. It would make sense for individuals who have gathered large amounts of interest or have been paying off loans for a long time, he said – two categories targeted by Biden's recent plan.

However, he’s fundamentally against abolishing tuition fees, as this does nothing to forestall students from stepping into debt.

“They're asking people who have never had loans to pay back their loans,” said Lesyk, 58, who has never had student loans. “This money doesn't just come out of the sky, it comes from somewhere, and there are so many other things that people need right now.”

Biden's recent plan would write off some or all the debt for several groups: those whose accrued interest is so high that they owe greater than they originally borrowed; those that have been paying off student loans for not less than 20 years; borrowers who attended low-benefit college programs that leave graduates with high debt relative to their income; and those that face other forms of financial hardship.

None of those categories are supported by a majority of Americans, the poll found. Just under half favor relief for individuals who have made 20 years of on-time payments, and 44 percent favor it for individuals who now have more debt than they originally took on. About 4 in 10 favor it for individuals who went to a bank that left its borrowers with high levels of debt relative to their income, or for those facing other forms of monetary hardship.

In every category, nearly all of Democrats agreed to debt relief.

Support was also higher amongst those now paying off student debt than those that have already paid it off. Nearly 7 in 10 current borrowers favor relief for individuals with older loans, compared with half of Americans who previously paid off student loans.

The highest level of support amongst former borrowers was amongst those that were defrauded by their educational institution, at 56%.

The survey of 1,309 adults was conducted from May 16 to May 21, 2024. The sample got here from NORC's probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is meant to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of error for all respondents is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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