WH Announces More Student Loan Cancellations

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President Joe Biden announced Thursday that his administration is canceling student loans for an additional 78,000 public service workers under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) is a government program created in 2007 that cancels student loans for people who have made at least 120 months of payments and who work for a qualifying employer, such as some government agencies or not-for-profit organizations.

In 2021, the Biden administration announced a set of actions it was undertaking to improve, simplify, and automate the program and make it accessible to more qualifying borrowers with less red tape.

“Because of the fixes my Administration has made, we have now cancelled student debt for over 870,000 public service workers — compared to only about 7,000 public service borrowers ever receiving forgiveness prior to my Administration. And through all of our various student debt relief actions, nearly four million Americans have had their student debt cancelled under my Administration,” Biden said in a White House press release.

This latest announcement brings the total loan cancellation approved by the Biden-Harris administration to $143.6 billion for 3.96 million Americans, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“For too long, our nation’s teachers, nurses, social workers, firefighters, and other public servants faced logistical troubles and trap doors when they tried to access the debt relief they were entitled to under the law. With this announcement, the Biden-Harris Administration is showing how we’re taking further steps not only to fix those trap doors, but also to expand opportunity to many more Americans,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a press release.

President Biden highlighted his achievements on behalf of students and student-loan borrowers, including increasing Pell Grants to help families for those who earn less than $60,000 a year, fixing Income-Driven-Repayment Plans, and creating the SAVE plan.

“From day one of my Administration, I promised to fix broken student loan programs and make sure higher education is a ticket to the middle class, not a barrier to opportunity. I won’t back down from using every tool at my disposal to deliver student debt relief to more Americans, and build an economy from the middle out and bottom up,” Biden said.

Texas has 56,200 borrowers with an outstanding balance of $4 billion, whereas the U.S. has a total of 871,140 borrowers and an outstanding balance of $64.5 billion, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

However, some have opposed the cancellation of student loan debt, fearing that it will increase the federal deficit and lead to increased costs at colleges and universities, as Time Magazine reported.

“Biden’s debt transfer scam will make inflation even worse and does nothing to stop the runaway cost of college for most families,” former House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy previously asserted.

Other opponents, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), have said student loan cancellation is unfair to those who have either avoided debt or already paid off what they owed. However, the White House pointed out that Greene readily accepted the cancellation of more than $183,000 in PPP loans for her business during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A poll by NPR and Ipsos in 2022 found that slightly more than half of Americans support student loan cancellation of up to $10,000 per person. A majority also said the government should prioritize making college less expensive over canceling existing student loans.

According to the Council on Foreign Relations, rising tuition costs, as well as the recessions resulting from the 2008 financial crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, have unduly burdened younger generations. The non-profit organization claims that large-scale debt cancellation would alleviate some of this burden while also boosting the economy.

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