Student Loan Debt Relief - Latest Details
November 13, 2022
In late August of this year (2022), President Joe Biden made the announcement of fulfilling a Student Loan Debt Relief program, as promised during his presidential campaign. Biden's plan proposed to cancel up to 10,000 dollars’ worth of debt for several borrowers who qualified and filed with the studentaid.gov website before the deadline. It would also reduce the percentage that other borrowers would have to pay on their loans in the coming future. ("FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most", whitehouse.gov, 2022)
The announcement came as both a relief and a disappointment, as individuals who have been affected by student loan debt had been waiting for a long time to hear the details of Biden's plan. However, several borrowers debts either exceeded $10,000 or did not qualify for the relief program to begin with. Republican lawmakers, long opposed to student debt relief, also immediately followed with their criticisms and announced their efforts to challenge and oppose Biden's plan.
Some lawmakers have attempted to challenge the plan on legal grounds, arguing that it is too costly on the economy and federal budget, and that it exceeds the scope of the President's authority. While the lawsuits are currently only in the beginning stages, they present a potential legal hurdle that has caused the administration to restrict the type of loans that qualify for forgiveness - namely, Perkins and Federal Family Education Loans, types of loans that are backed by private companies and not the Department of Education or the government. ( MSN News, Barr, Luke. Kolionvsky, Sarah. 2022).
Advocates for student debt forgiveness also expressed concern with how the forgiveness program would be deployed. Persis Yu, from the Student Borrower Protection Center, expressed concerns in an ABC News interview, specifically relating to the execution of the plan, as borrowers are required to apply on a government website, and some borrowers may not be aware that they qualify for forgiveness.
" There's a lot of low-income folks who will never learn about this application. They will not be able to figure it out, they won't have the resources available to navigate the bureaucratic process," Yu said. ’And so in imposing this hurdle, we're actually putting in a barrier for the folks who need it the most.’" (ABC News, Ferris, Gabe. Haslet, Cheyenne, 2022. ).
If the loans were taken out before July of 2022, (whitehouse.gov) then students can go to the studentaid.gov and apply from now until December 2022. Even with the plans being challenged by lawmakers, students looking to ensure they get their debt relief should apply to the studentaid.gov website as quickly as possible so that they are still on record as qualifying, whatever the eventual shape of the plan ends up being after the legal challenges.
Here are what the student loan debt relief options look like as of the publication of this article;
Barr, Luke. Kolionvsky, Sarah. 2022, Sept 29. "Biden Scales Back Student Loan Forgiveness Amid Lawsuits: 770K Borrowers Excluded." msn.com. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-scales-back-student-loan-forgiveness-amid-lawsuits-770k-borrowers-excluded/ar-AA12pNnQ
Gangito, Alex. 2022, Oct 2. "Lawsuits, shrunk eligibility take the shine off Biden’s student debt relief." msn.com. https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/lawsuits-shrunk-eligibility-take-the-shine-off-biden-e2-80-99s-student-debt-relief/ar-AA12vyei
Ferris, Gabe. Haslet, Cheyenne. 2022, Aug 24."Biden's student loan forgiveness policy: How to apply, who qualifies, more." abcnews.com. https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/answering-questions-bidens-student-loan-forgiveness-policy/story?id=88797162
Klein, Betsy. Lee, MJ. 2022, Sep 29. "Biden administration kicks off student loan debt forgiveness process. cnn.com."https://www.cnn.com/2022/09/29/politics/student-loan-forgiveness-update-biden-administration/index.html
Turner, Cory. Sequoia, Carrillo. 2022 Aug 24. "Biden is canceling up to $10K in student loans, $20K for Pell Grant recipients." npr.org https://www.npr.org/2022/08/24/1118879917/student-loan-forgiveness-biden
whitehouse.gov. 2022, Aug 24. "FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces Student Loan Relief for Borrowers Who Need It Most." https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/08/24/fact-sheet-president-biden-announces-student-loan-relief-for-borrowers-who-need-it-most/