SEIU 1021

President Biden’s student loan cancellation is “groundbreaking” for some SEIU 1021 members


Emily Flores works at Oakland’s Highland Hospital as a community health outreach worker in the Care Transitions Program. She helps identify the patients who are most at risk and most in need of help navigating our healthcare system and helps them find resources, programs, and tools to assist them in taking better care of their health. Last week, she got the news that President Joe Biden had taken bold action to address our nation’s student debt crisis.

What Biden did was wide-ranging and far-reaching. He cancelled “$10,000 from every student loan balance owned by the federal government (which is about 80 percent of the outstanding total), subject to an income cap of $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for families. Pell grant recipients will be eligible for up to $20,000 in forgiveness.” He also continued the suspension of payments through the end of 2022

Emily said about this news, “It’s groundbreaking for me! It almost seems too good to be true. After more than a decade, to finally get the opportunity to be free–I’m ecstatic. I think this is a long time coming. For me, progress on student loan reform has been slow. I was young and wanted to further my education, and the school I went to, Western Career College, did us dirty. They told us our credits would transfer, and they promised us everything for one price, but it was a complete sham. I went to school at 19, and it was gut-wrenching go to school and get a certificate that doesn’t mean anything, because the credits won’t transfer and it turns out you’re now in debt up to your eyeballs.

“This is a struggle I’ve been vocal about for years. I am very passionate about this issue. I was a responsible 19-year-old, and I even had a good credit score, and student debt really set me back. This feels like a happy ending, and I feel like I and the other people I went to school with really deserve it!”

She advised her fellow SEIU 1021 members to keep their eyes on the government’s website and sign up for their email. ”Don’t just leave it to them. Track it, so you get what’s owed to you and make sure you’re getting what you deserve.”