Biden administration announces $39 billion in student debt relief for 804,000 borrowers
(The Hill) — The Biden administration has announced that it will provide $39 billion in total student debt relief for 804,000 borrowers, its latest step since President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan was struck down by the Supreme Court.
The Education Department said Friday that the relief is being provided on income-driven repayment plans, in which the federal government cancels remaining balances for the borrower after they have made their payments for 20 or 25 years.
The department said the “fixes” will more accurately count monthly payments that qualify under the plans, and it will notify borrowers who are eligible for the relief in the upcoming days.
The Supreme Court struck down Biden’s plan to give $10,000 of student debt relief to low- and middle-income borrowers and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients in a 6-3 decision last month. The majority found that Congress had not directly authorized the president to forgive debts worth in aggregate hundreds of billions of dollars.
Biden announced following the decision that his administration would continue to work to provide student debt relief despite the court’s ruling. He said he would base his debt relief plan on a different law, the Higher Education Act, which proponents argue allows the education secretary to “compromise, waive or release” student loan debt.
The administration must undergo a public comment period before the plan can go into effect, delaying its potential implementation.
The Hill has reached out to the White House for comment on Friday’s announcement.
“For far too long, borrowers fell through the cracks of a broken system that failed to keep accurate track of their progress towards forgiveness,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
The relief is being provided as part of an adjustment that the administration previously announced in April 2022.
Cardona said the plan will ensure that everyone receives the forgiveness that they deserve in addressing “past administrative failures.”