Some N.C. Central University students streamed Democratic Vice Presidential Nominee Kamala Harris speaking recently about the plan of forgiving student loan debt to HBCU students and young activists.
“We know that our black students particularly, have some of the highest rates of student loan debts of all student graduates,” Senator Harris (D-Calif) said Sept.22 on the video call.
Harris and running mate Joe Biden proposed to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt, and if a student finds a job that pays less than $125,000 after graduation, they will forgive their student loan debt.
Families that make less than $125,000 may receive a tuition-free education for students entering a four year public or private college.
Harris, Howard University alumna, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, was excited to answer questions from a small panel of students from Spelman College, North Carolina A&T State University, Howard University, Tuskegee University and Hampton University.
Fana Haileselassie, a student from Spelman College, asked Harris about her and Biden plans for the COVID-19 pandemic, student loan debt, and unemployment.
“Can you imagine? In the midst of a crisis, there are opportunities,” Harris said.
Biden and Harris’ National Plan, as she calls it, is to increase contact-tracing and require 100,000 health workers to be hired to trace the virus and eliminate it. Harris says the pandemic will create an increase in public health jobs.
Harris goes on to mention how HBCUs are producing more entrepreneurs after college. An issue some students are facing is starting their own business after graduating.
“One of the biggest challenges for our small business leaders and owners or those who would become a small business owner is access to capital,” she said.
Their plan is to invest about 100 billion dollars with low-interest loans to small businesses in black and brown communities.
Julian Woods from North Carolina A&T State University asked Harris about education, teacher pay, and HBCU funding.
Harris said that 50% of black teachers come from HBCUs. Harris mentioned one way to increase teacher pay is “by contributing Title 1 funding to schools in low-income communities.”
Another plan that Biden and Harris proposed is to invest $5 billion into HBCUs and minority institutions with graduate programs in education, health, and STEM programs that will have development programs for students to have a successful career after graduation.
On day one in the office, the Biden and Harris administration plans to get the novel coronavirus under control, creating a $15,000 down payment tax credit, and creating a criminal justice policy reform that bans chokeholds, carotid holds, ends cash bail and private prisons.
Harris added her and Biden aim to decriminalize marijuana and expunge records for people convicted of marijuana offenses.
One of the main takeaways from the event was Harris encouraging young Americans to vote in the 2020 election.
“Let’s just make sure we don’t let anybody take our power of voting,” Harris said.
The Black America Votes event was presented by BET Digital and hosted by actor and TV personality Terrence J.