RELIEF: Joe Biden kills $5 billion student loans, pulling 74,000 out of debt trap

US student loan relief is specifically tailored for longtime borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans

US President Joe Biden delivers remarks about the student loan forgiveness program from an auditorium on the White House campus in Washington, US, October 17, 2022. —Reuters

President Joe Biden has greenlit an additional wave of student loan relief, forgiving $4.9 billion in debt for approximately 74,000 borrowers, USA Today reported.

This relief is specifically tailored for longtime borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment plans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. 

The Education Department’s adjustments to these programs, partly spurred by a nonpartisan watchdog report, have paved the way for this targeted relief.

The latest initiative echoes previous relief measures implemented by the president, showcasing his commitment to achieving more specific loan forgiveness despite the Supreme Court’s rejection of his initial relief plan last summer. 

Biden emphasised his determination, stating, “I won’t back down from using every tool at our disposal to get student loan borrowers the relief they need to reach their dreams.”

For the 29,700 borrowers in income-driven repayment plans, $1.7 billion in relief was granted through a reassessment of their repayment timelines. Those who had been repaying their loans for over two decades, as determined after the adjustment, automatically qualified for full forgiveness.

The remaining $3.2 billion was allocated to 43,900 borrowers enrolled in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, with the federal government reassessing their payments and expediting their repayment timelines. 

The Biden administration has been actively reviewing accounts of borrowers in income-driven repayment plans and reassessing payments made by PSLF participants since last fall. 

This strategic approach aligns with the administration’s broader effort to prioritise student loan relief, potentially influencing political considerations for the upcoming November elections.

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