During the 2020 presidential campaign, Joe Biden promised sweeping action on student debt. His plan to cancel at least $10,000 of loans for anyone making less than $125,000 a year was popular with younger Americans. But it never came to pass: in 2023, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s executive order that would have made good on the campaign promise. 

The decision from the highest court forced the administration to take a different approach. To date, Biden has canceled over $138 billion in student debt for 3.9 million borrowers and announced a new path to achieving sweeping forgiveness last September. 

These moves help many Millennials and some Gen-Xers who have been in repayment on their loans for 10 to 25 years. But unlike his original executive order, Biden’s more narrow action on student debt has thus far left out Gen-Z entirely. Now, this year’s presidential election could be swayed by young voters who are not only worried about their student debt but also lack optimism about their financial futures, job prospects, and the economy. 

Born in and after 1997, the oldest Gen-Zer is turning 27 this year. This generation includes 41 million potential voters — with 5.7 million Black young adults among them — who graduated from college within the last six years. 

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