President Joe Biden has announced $9 billion in new student loan debt relief for 125,000 borrowers, framing it as a key step in his efforts to address the issues with the student loan system and make college more affordable. The relief includes restructuring income-driven repayment plans and focusing on Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), following the Supreme Court’s ruling against his unilateral cancellation efforts earlier this year.
Of the $9 billion, $5.2 billion will be allocated to 53,000 borrowers through Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs, while $2.8 billion will come from amendments to income-driven repayment plans. These changes aim to provide relief to borrowers who have made 20 years or more of payments but have not received the relief they were entitled to. Additionally, $1.2 billion in loan debt will be wiped for 22,000 borrowers with a total or permanent disability.
Since taking office, Biden has approved approximately $127 billion in student loan debt cancellation for 3.6 million borrowers. However, his efforts have faced criticism from Republican lawmakers who argue that widespread debt forgiveness places an unfair burden on taxpayers who either paid off their debts or did not attend college.
White House officials have pushed back against these criticisms, accusing Republicans in Congress of attempting to block debt cancellation efforts and keep constituents burdened by student loan debt. They emphasize that Biden remains committed to delivering relief to American families and easing their financial burdens.
While Biden’s student loan debt cancellation policies are popular among young Democratic voters, the president’s overall economic approval ratings remain low, with only 38% of the country approving of his economic stewardship, according to a recent NBC poll.