While some are questioning the timing, President Joe Biden’s administration has announced the cancellation of an additional $5 billion for 74,000 student loan borrowers. Just as the presidential campaign narrows, the White House boasted its latest wave of student debt relief. It brings the total number of people who have had their debts erased under the Biden administration to over 3.7 million Americans.
“From Day One of my Administration, I vowed to improve the student loan system so that a higher education provides Americans with opportunity and prosperity – not unmanageable burdens of student loan debt,” Biden said, Fox Business reported. “I won’t back down from using every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams.”
The recent debt discharges are attributed to fixes made to income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness and Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) programs. A significant portion of the impacted borrowers, nearly 44,000, are public service workers such as teachers, nurses, and firefighters who have earned forgiveness after a decade of service. The remaining borrowers have been in repayment for at least 20 years but never received the relief they qualified for through income-driven repayment plans.
Despite facing obstacles such as the Supreme Court blocking his original debt forgiveness plan last June, Biden has continued to push forward and find alternative ways to reduce student loan debt.
In addition to the recent debt cancellations, the administration announced plans to expedite forgiveness for certain borrowers enrolled in the Saving on Valuable Education (SAVE) plan, targeting those with shorter repayment timelines and smaller loan amounts. The Department of Education launched outreach campaigns to encourage more borrowers to enroll in the SAVE Plan, particularly benefiting community college students and those at risk of default, NBC News reported.
Furthermore, updates to the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form aim to expand eligibility for federal student aid, including Pell Grants, benefiting low-income families and increasing access to higher education opportunities.
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