Biden announces student debt forgiveness up to $20,000


Evan Vucci via AP

President Joe Biden speaks about student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2022, in Washington. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona listens at right.

Patrick Kane, World News Editor

On Aug. 24, President Joe Biden announced his intention to cancel $10,000 or more in student debt of every student borrower making under $125,000 a year. The move, which had been lobbied for years by many in the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, fulfills a campaign promise of Biden’s from 2020.

The plan, which was revealed the morning of Aug. 24, will cancel $10,000 in student debt for eligible debtors. However, if one received the Federal Pell Grant, that number rises to $20,000. Additionally, Biden will extend the student loan repayment moratorium (originally set in place during the COVID-19 pandemic) through December 2022.

In addition, the proposal also included a comprehensive low-income repayment plan, which would cap monthly repayments at no more than 5% of monthly income. In doing so, the plan will also cover monthly interest, ensuring that the total amount owed never increases.

Biden announced the details of his plan at the White House on the afternoon of the 24th with US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona present. When asked by a reporter whether or not the move was unfair to Americans who had already paid of their loans, the president responded in a rare moment of combativeness, “is it fair to people who, in fact, do not own multi-billion-dollar businesses if they see one of these guys getting all the tax breaks? Is that fair?”

Democrats, particularly Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, staunch progressives that have long advocated student loan forgiveness, cheered  for the Biden administration’s move, In contrast, many Republicans, like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, criticized Biden’s plan, citing inflation and decrying it as socialism.

The plan is expected to affect over 43 million student borrowers and would completely wipe out the student debt of 11.8 million people.