Within the first month of President Joe Biden’s tenure in office, Congressional progressives began pushing for the president to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for all borrowers. The issue of student debt cancellation has remained salient ever since.
So when news outlets reported in late August that Biden’s administration had canceled over $9 billion in student loan debt since January, people noticed. That led to a viral tweet that asked the question, “For who?”
Has the Biden administration canceled more than $9 billion in student loan debt?
Yes, the Biden administration has canceled more than $9 billion in student loan debt. The cancellations have been for small groups of borrowers and are less than 1% of total student loan debt.
WHAT WE FOUND
In March and August, two separate moves from the Department of Education discharged a combined $7.1 billion in student debt for about 450,000 people who have a “total and permanent” disability.
Later in August, the Department of Education discharged $1.1 billion in student debt for 115,000 former students at ITT Technical Institute (ITT) based on problems leading up to the school’s closure. That adds up to $8.2 billion between the latter three announcements.
That move was part of the pre-existing borrower defense program, which gives borrowers harmed by institutional misconduct relief from their federal student loans. The Department of Education streamlined the program in March to grant greater debt relief to borrowers who qualified.
Between the additional relief granted by borrower defense streamline and the other discharges this year, the Department of Education said it has discharged $9.5 billion in loans for 563,000 people since January.
The Federal Reserve of New York’s most recent calculation of total outstanding student loan debt is $1.57 trillion. So, the Biden administration has discharged approximately 0.61% of student loan debt nationwide.
So far, the Biden administration has focused on eliminating student debt for borrowers affected by disability or school closures.
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