Biden Approves $5.8 Billion in Student Debt Cancellation for 78,000 Borrowers

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The incremental relief brings the canceled total to $143.6 billion for nearly four million Americans.

The Biden administration continued its effort to extend student debt relief on Thursday, erasing an additional $5.8 billion in federal loans for nearly 78,000 borrowers, including teachers, firefighters and others who largely work in the public sector.

To date, the administration has canceled $143.6 billion in loans for nearly four million borrowers through various actions, fixes and federal relief programs. That’s the largest amount of student debt eliminated since the government began backing loans more than six decades ago, but it’s still far less than President Biden’s initial proposal, which would have canceled up to $400 billion in debt for 43 million borrowers but was blocked by the Supreme Court.

The latest debt erasures apply to government and nonprofit employees in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which can eliminate their balance after 120 payments. The P.S.L.F. program, which was plagued with administrative and other problems, has improved in recent years after the administration made a series of fixes.

“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,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.

Since those October 2021, more than 871,000 public service and nonprofit workers have received debt cancellation totaling $62.5 billion; before that, just 7,000 had reached forgiveness since the program was created more than 15 years ago.

Starting next week, borrowers who are set to receive the latest round of debt cancellation through the P.S.L.F. program will receive an email notification from Mr. Biden — a reminder of his administration’s work just eight months before the presidential election.

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