By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
On Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Biden administration declared that it would erase an extra $4.8 billion of 80,300 students’ student loan debt. The U.S. Department of Education’s adjustments to its Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and income-driven repayment plans have resulted in the alleviation.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona stated in a statement that “before President Biden took office, it was virtually impossible for eligible borrowers to access the student debt relief they rightfully earned. “This level of debt relief is unparalleled, and we have no intention of slowing down,” Cardona said.
Approximately $2 billion of the assistance will be allocated to almost 46,000 individuals who are currently participating in income-driven repayment programs. According to experts, loan servicers frequently neglected to monitor borrowers’ payments, resulting in the failure of the intended debt forgiveness schemes after a specified timeframe.
The U.S. Department of Education announced that 34,400 debtors who have been in public service for ten years or longer will be granted loan cancellation of $2.6 billion. Participants in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program have had difficulties in obtaining the promised debt cancellation due to inaccuracies in their payment calculations and other related problems.
The Biden administration has recently eliminated around $132 billion in student debt for over 3.6 million American individuals. The Biden-Harris campaign expects their relentless pursuit of forgiving student loans will aid them in the polls as voters support measures that forgive student debt by a 2-to-1 margin.
Despite the Supreme Court striking down the administration’s earlier plan to offer as much as $20,000 in loan forgiveness to borrowers, Biden has relentlessly pursued other avenues to meet his campaign promise.
“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. 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 president insisted.
Biden said the relief is courtesy of his administration’s efforts to fix Public Service Loan Forgiveness, so teachers, members of the military, nurses, and other public service workers receive “the relief they have earned.”
“And it’s because of actions my administration took to make sure that borrowers who have been in repayment for at least 20 years – but didn’t accurately get credit for student loan payments – get the relief they are entitled to,” Biden asserted, noting that the latest move brings the total debt cancellation his administration has approved to $132 billion for over 3.6 million Americans through various actions.
“Today’s announcement comes on top of all we’ve been able to achieve for students and student loan borrowers in the past few years,” Biden stated. “This includes achieving the largest increases in Pell Grants in over a decade to help families who earn less than roughly $60,000 a year; fixing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program so that borrowers who go into public service get the debt relief they’re entitled to under the law; and creating the most generous Income-Driven Repayment plan in history – the SAVE plan.
“Borrowers can go to studentaid.gov to apply. And, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on our student debt relief plan, we are continuing to pursue an alternative path to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible.”