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Schumer, Warren Misstate Student Loan Debt Disparity

In a press conference in which they called on President Joe Biden to use his executive authority to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt for individuals, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren misstated a racial disparity statistic.

Schumer, who conferred with Warren on the figures, wrongly said “after 20 years, only 5% of whites have student debt, but 95% of African Americans have debt.” But the 2019 Brandeis University study the senators were trying to cite found that 51% of white student-loan holders and 74% of Black student borrowers still had debt 20 years after they started college. 

Warren speaks at the Feb. 4 press conference with Schumer and Omar behind her. Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In addition, Warren imprecisely said their debt cancellation plan “would help close the from Brandeis researchers found that racial wealth gaps among borrowing households only would be reduced by about that much. The reduction in the overall wealth gaps for all households would be much lower.

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