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College access and success program lauds today’s student debt relief announcement

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (Aug. 24, 2022): Onward We Learn, the college access nonprofit previously known as the Onward We Learn of Rhode Island, applauds today’s announcement by President Biden to forgive up to $10,000 of federal student loans and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

The president’s plan also extends the payment freeze once more until the end of the year. This erasure of debt and freeze will substantially help Rhode Islanders who attended college as low-income and/or first-generation students.

“Thousands of Onward We Learn alumni had no choice but to incur student debt as they pursued their college dreams. For most, such debt impedes their capacity to achieve economic prosperity and accumulate the assets needed to generate wealth,” said Onward We Learn President and CEO Andrew Bramson. “Today’s cancellation will provide some much-needed relief for these borrowers, which in turn will help the Rhode Island economy.

“Today’s announcement must shine a bright light on how broken the higher education finance system is in this country. Beyond today’s cancellation of debt, the federal government must prioritize structural changes to make higher education more affordable. This work cannot wait another day,” Bramson said.

Important policy changes Bramson and the organization advocate for include meaningful efforts to control the ever-rising costs of college; expanding Pell Grants for high-need borrowers; eliminating interest on federal loans; developing more innovative repayment plans; and streamlining loan forgiveness for public service.

“Rhode Island is fortunate to have a congressional delegation that understands and appreciates the burden that student debt creates, especially among young adults,” Bramson said. “Onward We Learn looks forward to partnering with our delegation to seek solutions that action-oriented and will benefit those with the greatest need.”

Onward We Learn supports more than 4,000 students in middle school, high school and college each year with one-on-one advising and year-round programs that focus on academic enrichment, social and emotional development, career education, and postsecondary preparation to help them become the first in their families to earn a college degree. Middle schoolers who attend traditional public schools and select public charter schools and independent schools in Providence, Cranston, Pawtucket, Central Falls, Woonsocket and West Warwick are eligible to enroll in Onward We Learn. Learn more at www.onwardwelearn.org.