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Biden-Harris Administration Announces New Plans for Debt Relief

The Biden-Harris Administration has released initial details of a new set of plans to provide student debt relief to borrowers nationwide.

The plans would include 4 million borrowers who have already been approved for debt cancellation by the Biden-Harris Administration over the past three years.

James KvaalJames Kvaal"These historic steps reflect President Biden’s determination that we cannot allow student debt to leave students worse off than before they went to college,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal. “The President directed us to complete these programs as quickly as possible, and we are going to do just that.”

The U.S. Department of Education is releasing totals for approved discharge across four existing major student loan forgiveness programs — Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), Income-Driven Repayment (IDR), Saving On A Valuable Education (SAVE), and Total and Permanent Disability (TPD). In IDR, there is nearly $46 billion in relief to more than 930,000 borrowers. From PSLF, there is $62.5 billion for nearly 872,000 borrowers. In SAVE, there are nearly 153,000 borrowers carrying $1.2 billion in loans who are eligible for shortened time to forgiveness. Under TPD, there is $14.1 billion for 548,300 borrowers.

The administration’s plans are the next step in a regulatory process that began last summer to provide debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible under the Higher Education Act.

“This is a lifechanging intervention,” said AFT President Randi Weingarten. “Student debt has become a stranglehold on economic opportunity for this generation of strivers and dreamers. The Biden-Harris administration is pursuing mechanisms to remove the shackles of student debt for millions more Americans because they are determined to improve people’s lives. While loan servicers and extremists in Congress and the courts throw up barriers, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have shown in deeds, not just words, that they have our backs.”

The proposals would permit the following types of waivers: waiving accrued and capitalized interest for millions of borrowers; automatically discharging debt for borrowers otherwise eligible for loan forgiveness under SAVE, closed school discharge, or other forgiveness programs, but not enrolled; eliminating student debt for borrowers in repayment for 20 years or more; helping borrowers who enrolled in low-financial-value programs or institutions; and assisting borrowers experiencing hardship paying back their loans.

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