Today, the Legal Defense Fund and a coalition of civil rights organizations released a set of principles to ensure that broad loan cancellation advances equity and supports all borrowers, especially women and Black and Latinx individuals who are disproportionately impacted by student debt. The principles address the affordability crisis in higher education with a focus on racial equity. Crushing loan debt exacerbates the racial wealth gap that exists at all income levels. Student loan cancellation is central to educational and economic justice. The coalition calls for the Biden-Harris administration to immediately cancel $50,000 of student debt per borrower. 

The Principles for Student Loan Debt Cancellation include:

  • Calls for the immediate cancellation of $50,000 of student debt per borrower 
  • Extend relief to all borrowers for every type of degree 
  • Extend relief to all borrowers regardless of sector of institution 
  • Guard against negative credit implications 

Read the set of principles here.

In May 2020, LDF and a coalition of civil rights groups sent a letter calling on congressional leaders to prioritize educational equity and include student debt cancellation provisions in federal COVID-19 response legislation. A report included in the letter notes that 85% of Black graduates in 2016 took on debt to finance their degrees and nearly half of borrowers who entered higher education in 2003-2004 had defaulted on their loans by 2016. Student debt remains a burden and barrier for Black students: Up to 70% of this cohort is projected to default by 2024.


Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization. LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Follow LDF on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.