Los Angeles County will consider ways the county can purchase unpaid or unpaid student loan debt from county employees who earn less than the median income for the area they live in, after a vote by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday, November 1.
Introduced by supervisors Hilda Solis and Holly Mitchell, the motion demands that the county government report to the council in 120 days with suggestions on how to buy student debt from county employees, what is the most appropriate debt to purchase, the criteria that county employees will have to meet, the means by which the county can recover debt payments if an employee leaves the county within five years of the debt buyout, and the means by which positions can be filled vacancies by implementing the initiative.
According to the County Department of Consumer and Corporate Affairs, 9.8% of Californians have some form of student debt. The motion from the oversight board states that “black women in particular are hardest hit” by the burden of student loans.
“According to the ACLU, the median black borrower owes 95% of the debt compared to the median white borrower who paid off 94% of the debt two decades after taking out student loans,” the motion reads. “Student loan debt also disproportionately impacts Latino undergraduate students. Excelencia in Education found that 51% of Latino undergraduate students who started post-secondary education in 2012 borrowed funds. About 36% of Latinos will owe more than the amount they originally owed after starting college 12 years earlier.
The motion also requires all county departments to notify their employees of President Joe Biden’s federal student debt relief plan and post information about the plan on their websites, email newsletters and newsletters. other communications to ensure people without internet access know about the plan and are able to apply for it if they are eligible.
The federal program would cancel up to $20,000 in Pell Grant loans per individual and up to $10,000 for people who hold other government-held federal student loans if it survives current legal challenges. To qualify for federal student debt relief, individual applicants must have earned less than $125,000 in annual income in 2020 or 2021, or $250,000 between married couples.
An online application for the federal program has been available since last month, but implementation of the plan is at least temporarily stalled after a coalition of Republican-led states filed a petition with the Court of Appeals of the 8th Circuit to stop the plan, arguing that it is unfair and would increase the burden of inflation on Americans.