Editor's Note: What follows is a summary of The Hechinger Report's September 20, 2022 article OPINION: For many students who are also caregivers, Biden’s loan forgiveness plan is a much-needed lifeline by Jason Resendez and Fawn Cothran.
OPINION: For many students who are also caregivers, Biden’s loan forgiveness plan is a much-needed lifelineThe Biden administration's plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loans for qualifying borrowers
- The less-heard-from community that stands to benefit from student loan relief: the 53 million Americans who provide care for loved ones managing a chronic disease, serious illness, disability, or mental health condition.
- Nearly half (45 percent) of family caregivers report they have experienced at least one negative financial impact, such as difficulty affording food, as a result of their caregiving.
The average student caregiver provides approximately 20 hours of care per week
- helping family members bathe, get dressed, and negotiate the health care system
- Many students provide complex care-such as administering multiple medications, changing dressings, and handling medical equipment-all with little to no training.
The financial strain of caregiving intersects with other deeply entrenched economic inequities
- Nearly half of student caregivers report being in high-intensity care situations, which increases their risk for mental health problems and other health challenges.
- They are more likely to report not being able to pay bills or afford basic expenses like food for themselves.
- While Biden's loan forgiveness plan won't completely transform the lives of our country's 5 million student caregivers, it will provide real breathing room for the millions of young people who are working hard to achieve their educational dreams while propping up our broken system of unpaid care.
- For family caregivers, loan forgiveness is a small step toward addressing the economic hardships associated with care. It will take much bolder investments in care infrastructure, such as paid family and medical leave, to give caregivers the futures they deserve.