Biden cancels $7.7 billion in student debt for 160,000 borrowers 

National News

By Naveen Athrappully 
Contributing Writer 

President Joe Biden announced his latest student loan forgiveness plan by canceling $7.7 billion in debts, taking the total amount of such loans canceled under his administration to $167 billion. 

“Today, my administration is canceling student debt for 160,000 more people, bringing the total number of Americans who have benefitted from our debt relief actions to 4.75 million,” Biden said in a statement on Wednesday. “Each of those borrowers has received an average of over $35,000 in debt cancellation. These 160,000 additional borrowers are people enrolled in my administration’s SAVE Plan; are public service workers like teachers, nurses, or law enforcement officials; or are borrowers who were approved for relief because of fixes we made to Income-Driven Repayment.” 

Out of $7.7 billion, $5.2 billion is relief granted to 66,900 borrowers under Public Service Loan Forgiveness, a program for government and NGO employees. Once a borrower has made 120 qualifying monthly payments on their debt, PSLF can forgive the remaining portion of the dues. In total, the Biden administration has approved $68 billion in forgiveness for over 942,000 borrowers under PSLF. 

About $1.9 billion will go to provide relief to 39,200 borrowers through administrative adjustments made to individuals with IDR plans. The administration has so far approved $51 billion in IDR relief for over one million borrowers. 

The remaining $613 million in relief will be granted to 54,300 borrowers enrolled in the SAVE plan. Enrolled individuals can get relief if they’ve made payments for at least 10 years, provided they borrowed $12,000 or less. Around $5.5 billion in loan forgiveness has been granted to 414,000 borrowers under the SAVE plan by the Biden administration. 

With the latest announcement, the Biden-Harris administration has approved $167 billion in loan forgiveness to 4.75 million Americans. 

Biden’s latest loan forgiveness comes less than six months before the presidential election. The issue of student loans remains high on the agenda of younger voters, many of whom have concerns about Biden’s foreign policy on the war in Gaza and fault him for not achieving greater debt forgiveness. 

The campaign of former President Donald Trump, Biden’s Republican challenger in the White House race, in March criticized the student loan cancellation as a bailout that was done “without a single act of Congress.” 

A poll published by the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School last month showed that younger voters were not particularly impressed with Biden’s student debt relief plans — only 39% of poll participants approved of the president on the issue. 

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said the Biden administration “remains persistent about our efforts to bring student debt relief to millions more across the country, and this announcement proves it.” 

More than 1 out of every 10 federal student loan borrowers have been approved for some debt relief under the Biden administration, which means that “one out of every 10 borrowers now has financial breathing room and a burden lifted,” he said. 

In June of last year, the Supreme Court voted to strike down the Biden administration’s massive student loan forgiveness program, which would have resulted in a government burden of about $800 billion or even over $1 trillion, according to some estimates. 

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report. 

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