Joe Biden Unveils Another $7.7 Billion Canceled in Student Debt for 160,000 Borrowers

President Joe Biden unveiled his most recent student loan forgiveness initiative, wiping out $7.7 billion in debt. This brings the total amount of loans forgiven during 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,” President Biden said in a May 22 statement.

“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 (IDR),” the statement reads.

Of the $7.7 billion, $5.2 billion provides relief to 66,900 borrowers through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, designed for government and NGO workers. PSLF forgives the remaining debt after a borrower completes 120 qualifying monthly payments. Overall, the Biden administration has approved $68 billion in forgiveness for more than 942,000 borrowers under PSLF.

$1.9 billion will be allocated to offer assistance to 39,200 borrowers via administrative adjustments to those under Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans. To date, the administration has authorized $51 billion in IDR relief for more than one million borrowers.

The remaining $613 million in relief will be distributed to 54,300 borrowers enrolled in the SAVE plan. Those enrolled qualify for relief after making payments for at least 10 years, as long as their borrowing doesn’t exceed $12,000. Under the SAVE plan, the Biden administration has approved around $5.5 billion in loan forgiveness for 414,000 borrowers.

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

President Biden’s recent announcement of loan forgiveness arrives just shy of six months before the presidential election. The topic of student loans remains a top concern for younger voters, who closely scrutinize Biden’s foreign policy stance regarding the conflict in Gaza and criticize his perceived lack of progress in achieving substantial debt relief.

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.”

Last month, a survey released by the Institute of Politics (IOP) at Harvard Kennedy School revealed that younger voters were largely unimpressed with President Biden’s proposals for student debt relief. Only 39 percent of those surveyed expressed approval of the president’s approach to 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.

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By Hunter Fielding
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