Americans support student loan forgiveness, but would rather rein in college costs
Corey Turner, Sequoia Carrillo
June 17, 2022
As President Biden inches toward an announcement on federal student loan forgiveness, a new NPR/Ipsos poll has found slightly more than half of Americans support what has been reported to be Biden’s likeliest path: forgiving up to $10,000 per person. But an overwhelming majority – including a majority of those with student loans – said the government should prioritize making college more affordable over forgiving existing student loans.
The nationally representative poll of 1,022 Americans was conducted between June 3 and 5, and included an oversample of more than 400 student loan borrowers. The margin of error is +/- 3.3 percentage points for all respondents and +/- 4.8 percentage points for those with student loans.
Here’s what we learned:
There’s general support for some debt cancellation
A majority of the general public (55%) supports forgiving up to $10,000 of a person’s federal student loan debt. But the more generous the relief, the more that support narrows.
Forty-seven percent of all respondents said they support forgiving up to $50,000 in debt, while 41% expressed support for wiping the slate completely clean for all borrowers.
Support for debt relief was, not surprisingly, far higher among borrowers themselves.
“One thing that comes through really clearly with this poll is that those closest to the issue, people that currently hold student loan debt, are in a very different position from the American public as a whole,” says Mallory Newall of Ipsos.
Eighty-four percent of borrowers supported $10,000 of relief, 78% backed a jump to $50,000 and still two-thirds (68%) supported forgiving all student loan debt.