President Biden Speaks at Culver City Julian Dixon Library on Student Debt Relief

“I want to thank the Culver City Mayor – where are you Mayor?” The familiar voice of Mayor Yasmine Imani McMorrin called from far side of the room “I’m right here!” and President Joe Biden offered another “Thank You!”

Biden was in Culver City to highlight his student loan debt relief program, and spoke at the Culver City Julian Dixon Library at 1 pm on Feb. 20, 2023. He was given a warm introduction by Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, and was preceded at the podium by Dr. Jessica St. Paul.

Dr. St. Paul offered herself as an example of using student loans for both an undergraduate degree at Howard University, and Masters and Doctoral degrees at UCLA. “I’ve been paying those loans for more almost two decades… like most Americans, doing the right thing was not enough, After borrowing $95,000, and [paying for years]  I still owed $144,652.”

Dr. St. Paul stated that President Biden’s program had allowed her to be forgiven for all of that debt. “That’s life changing.” She offered that she had just become a mother, and that the ability to invest in her daughter’s well being and future was because of Biden’s debt relief program.

Biden began his remarks thanking Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass, Congresswoman Sydney Kamlager, and our own Mayor McMorrin, and acknowledging Dr. St. Paul, saying that “Many people have to put off major life plans because of student loans….A college degree is a ticket to a better life, but that ticket is just too expensive.” 

The fanfare was low key, but the news was celebratory. “Starting today we are cancelling student debt for borrowers who are enrolled in the SAVE Plan, have been paying student loans for as little as 10 years if they took out $12,000 or less in loans for college.”

Biden will be informing 153,000 people that their student debt is forgiven.

The President noted that his earlier efforts, attacked by Republicans, had been killed by the Supreme Court. “Early in my term I announced a plan to provide debt relief from student loans… but the MAGA extremists sued, and the Supreme Court blocked it… so we created other ways for debt to be forgiven.” 

One of the programs that the Biden Administration is currently using had existed before Biden took office, but was under publicized and so, underutilized by those who could have been assisted. 

“We fixed the Public Service Loan program…If they make payments for 10 years in a row, they qualify.  There were 7000 people in the program when I took office, and we now have 800,000. Debt relief changes lives. 

“It means they can finally get on with their lives – buying a house, starting a family, starting a business – I promise you I’m never going to stop working for American families. Millions of those borrowers have had their debt dropped to zero, more than four million borrowers.”

He also announced $200 million in grants for registered apprenticeship programs to help educate skilled labor.

With today’s update, the Biden Administration has now approved almost $138 billion in student debt cancellation for nearly 3.9 million people. 

“It’s my commitment to the American people; we are doing all we can, giving people a fighting chance to make it.”

Judith Martin-Straw 

The Actors' Gang