NewsJoe Biden will cancel $7.4bn in student debt for 277,000 borrowers

Joe Biden will cancel $7.4bn in student debt for 277,000 borrowers

The Biden administration will cancel $7.4bn in student debt for 277,000 borrowers, the White House said on Friday, the latest in a series of debt cancellations.

Joe Biden announced plans on Monday to ease student debt that would benefit at least 23 million Americans, addressing a key issue for young voters whose support he needs as he seeks re-election in November.

Those plans include canceling up to $20,000 of accrued and capitalized interest for borrowers, regardless of income, which Biden’s administration estimates would eliminate the entirety of that interest for 23 million borrowers.

The latest round of debt relief affects 277,000 Americans enrolled in the Save Plan, other borrowers enrolled in Income-Driven Repayment plans, and borrowers receiving Public Service Loan Forgiveness, the White House said in a statement.

It follows an announcement in March that $6bn in student loans would be canceled for 78,000 borrowers.

The administration said on Friday it had approved $153bn in student debt relief for 4.3 million Americans.

Biden, a Democrat, last year pledged to find other avenues for tackling debt relief after the US supreme court in June blocked his broader plan to cancel $430bn in student loan debt.

The campaign of the former president Donald Trump, Biden’s Republican challenger in the White House race, in March criticized the student loan cancellation as a bailout that was done “without a single act of Congress”.

The issue remains high on the agenda of younger voters, many of whom have concerns about Biden’s foreign policy on the war in Gaza and fault him for not achieving greater debt forgiveness.

Republicans have called Biden’s student loan forgiveness approach an overreach of his authority and an unfair benefit to college-educated borrowers while other borrowers received no such relief.

Roughly half of federal student loan debt is held by people with a graduate degree, according to the Brookings Institution thinktank. An August 2023 report by the Department of Education said graduate students received the highest share – 47% – of federal student loan disbursements from 2021-22, even though they accounted for only 21% of all borrowers.

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