Biden's Education Department just canceled another $1.2 billion in student debt



President Joe Biden said beneficiaries of an expanded student debt relief effort would hear from him directly as he seeks to court young voters ahead November’s election.  

“If you qualify, you’ll be hearing from me shortly,” Biden said Wednesday at an event in Culver City, California. 

Borrowers who had their debt forgiven in the latest round will receive an email from the president letting them know. Biden’s administration gave similar notice in a prior round of debt forgiveness last November. 

The moves are reminiscent of 2020, when former President Donald Trump’s name appeared on Covid-19 stimulus checks sent to Americans. Trump is closing in on the 2024 Republican nomination and a rematch with Biden. 

The Biden administration announced earlier Wednesday that more than 150,000 borrowers will receive $1.2 billion in student loan forgiveness. The fresh debt relief is part of a program unveiled in January targeting Americans who had been making payments for at least a decade.

“A lot of people can’t even repay and they try – they don’t miss payments, they work like the devil every month to pay the bills,” Biden said. 

A plurality of Gen-Z voters – 43% — said Biden was doing too little to address student loans, according to a Bloomberg News/Morning Consult poll of swing-state voters released in December. Yet 46% of swing-state voters overall said they supported the administration’s student loan forgiveness programs, showing divides over the issue.

The move – which benefits those enrolled in the government’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan – wipes out loans for those who borrowed less than $12,000 for their higher education. Other income-driven repayment plans also forgive balances, but only after 20 or 25 years of repayment.

The latest round pushes the total relief approved by the Biden administration to nearly $138 billion, benefiting 3.9 million borrowers. That number could grow as more people become eligible for forgiveness under the SAVE program, which has 6.9 million people enrolled. Administration officials have declined to estimate how many borrowers will eventually see loans forgiven under the program.

Yet the efforts fall short of the president’s proposal for more sweeping student loan cancellation — as much as $20,000 in relief per borrower – that was struck down last year by the US Supreme Court. That forgiveness plan was estimated to cost $400 billion.

Biden on Wednesday blamed “MAGA Republicans” for suing to block the program but vowed he would “pursue alternative paths for student debt relief for as many borrowers as possible.”

That disconnect may have eroded support for Biden, particularly among young voters who have also voiced frustration over his administration’s handling of issues including the war between Israel and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip.

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