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Biden-Harris Administration Announces Additional $7.4 Billion in Approved Student Debt Relief for 277,000 Borrowers

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The Biden-Harris Administration announced today the approval of $7.4 billion in additional student loan debt relief for 277,000 borrowers. These discharges are for borrowers who signed up for President Biden’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan and are eligible for its shortened time-to-forgiveness benefit and as a result of fixes made by the Administration to income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness. This action comes as nearly 8 million borrowers have been helped by the SAVE plan. That includes 4.5 million with a $0 monthly payment.

Today’s announcement brings the total loan forgiveness approved by the Biden-Harris Administration to $153 billion for nearly 4.3 million Americans. Thanks to this Administration’s efforts one out of every 10 Federal student loan borrowers has now been approved for some debt relief. This action builds on President Biden and his Administration’s efforts to provide debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible.

“Today’s announcement shows—once again—that the Biden-Harris Administration is not letting up its efforts to give hardworking Americans some breathing room,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “As long as there are people with overwhelming student loan debt competing with basic needs such as food and healthcare, we will remain relentless in our pursuit to bring relief to millions across the country.”

The debt relief announced today is broken down into the following categories:

  • $3.6 billion for nearly 206,800 borrowers through SAVE. This relief will go to borrowers who are enrolled in the SAVE Plan who had smaller loans for their postsecondary studies. Borrowers can receive relief after at least 10 years of payments if they originally borrowed $12,000 or less for college. Each additional $1,000 in borrowing adds 12 more months until forgiveness. All borrowers on SAVE receive forgiveness after 20 or 25 years, depending on whether they have loans for graduate school. The benefit is based upon the original principal balance of all Federal loans borrowed to attend school, not what a borrower currently owes or the amount of an individual loan. Today’s announcement brings total relief approved underwi SAVE to $4.8 billion for almost 360,000 borrowers.
  • $3.5 billion for 65,800 borrowers through administrative adjustments to IDR payment counts that have brought borrowers closer to forgiveness and address longstanding concerns with the misuse of forbearance by loan servicers. Including today’s announcement, the Biden-Harris Administration has now approved $49.2 billion in IDR relief for more than 996,000 borrowers.
  • $300 million for 4,600 borrowers through fixes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This update comes shortly after the Department announced new PSLF discharges a few weeks ago. The Administration has now approved $62.8 billion in forgiveness for almost 876,000 borrowers through PSLF.

“Today we are helping 277,000 borrowers who have been making payments on their student loans for at least a decade,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal. “They have paid what they can afford, and they have earned loan forgiveness for the balance of their loan.”

As discussed in a recent report by the Council of Economic Advisors, the relief provided by these discharges and other actions taken by the Administration could boost short-term consumption and have positive effects on borrower mental health, financial security, and outcomes such as homeownership and entrepreneurship.

Borrowers will begin receiving emails today informing them of their approvals. Their relief will be processed in the weeks following.

Earlier this week, the Biden-Harris Administration released initial details of a new set of plans that would provide student debt relief for tens of millions of borrowers across the country. The plans would bring the total number of borrowers eligible for student debt relief to over 30 million, including the 4 million borrowers who have already been approved for debt cancellation by the Biden-Harris Administration over the past three years. The plans announced by President Biden are the next step in a regulatory process that began last summer to provide debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible under the Higher Education Act. The proposals would permit the following types of waivers:

  • Waiving accrued and capitalized interest for millions of borrowers;
  • Automatically discharging debt for borrowers otherwise eligible for loan forgiveness under SAVE, closed school discharge, or other forgiveness programs, but not enrolled;
  • Eliminating student debt for borrowers who entered repayment 20 or more years ago;
  • Helping borrowers who enrolled in low-financial-value programs or institutions; and
  • Assisting borrowers who experience hardship in paying back their loans.

The Biden-Harris Administration has taken historic steps to reduce the burden of student debt and ensure that student loans are not a barrier to opportunity for students and families. The Administration secured the largest increase to the maximum Pell Grant in a decade and finalized new rules to protect borrowers from career programs that leave graduates with unaffordable debts or insufficient earnings.>

Beyond the relief under IDR, SAVE, and PSLF, the Biden-Harris Administration has also approved:

  • $22.5 billion for more than 1.3 million borrowers who were cheated by their schools, saw their institutions precipitously close, or are covered by related court settlements.
  • $14.1 billion for more 548,000 borrowers with a total and permanent disability.

The updated state-by-state breakdown of borrowers approved for forgiveness under IDR and SAVE, including today’s announcement, can be found below:

 

Borrowers Identified for SAVE Forgiveness by Location Borrowers Identified for Forgiveness under Income Driven Repayment (IDR) Adjustment by Location
STATE Borrower Count Loan Amount Borrower Count Loan Amount

Alabama

2,950

$54,600,000

1,080

$51,200,000

Alaska

260

$4,400,000

90

 $4,600,000

Arizona

5,280

 $91,400,000

1,720

 $89,600,000

Arkansas

2,180

$35,800,000

620

 $ 31,400,000

California

18,510

 $320,700,000

4,660

$254,500,000

Colorado

3,580

 $67,200,000

1,270

 $73,300,000

Connecticut

2,010

 $35,800,000

520

 $30,500,000

Delaware

650

$10,800,000

200

$12,000,000

District of Columbia

400

$7,400,000

190

$11,200,000

Florida

16,700

$301,200,000

4,580

 $263,900,000

Georgia

8,200

$156,000,000

3,270

 $205,000,000

Hawaii

520

$10,800,000

180

$10,700,000

Idaho

1,110

$19,300,000

410

 $19,100,000

Illinois

6,550

$116,800,000

2,050

 $109,900,000

Indiana

5,490

$98,300,000

1,550

$74,400,000

Iowa

1,930

$33,000,000

760

 $37,000,000

Kansas

1,880

$34,000,000

670

$36,700,000

Kentucky

2,830

$49,700,000

950

$39,500,000

Louisiana

3,530

$64,900,000

1,240

$70,300,000

Maine

1,020

$18,500,000

330

$15,000,000

Maryland

3,520

$64,300,000

1,370

$84,100,000

Massachusetts

2,980

$52,300,000

1,700

$87,900,000

Michigan

6,440

$109,200,000

2,310

$116,300,000

Minnesota

2,580

$45,000,000

1,130

 $53,700,000

Mississippi

2,750

$47,700,000

790

$41,300,000

Missouri

4,630

$87,100,000

1,600

$80,900,000

Montana

670

$11,200,000

250

$12,200,000

Nebraska

1,220

$ 22,200,000

410

$22,100,000

Nevada

2,410

$40,500,000

610

$29,200,000

New Hampshire

670

$12,100,000

240

$13,400,000

New Jersey

3,930

$66,900,000

1,390

$70,200,000

New Mexico

1,580

$25,600,000

430

$23,600,000

New York

10,180

$182,000,000

2,970

$170,200,000

North Carolina

5,980

$110,900,000

2,120

$109,100,000

North Dakota

320

$5,800,000

170

$9,600,000

Ohio

8,880

$154,800,000

2,960

$150,600,000

Oklahoma

3,230

$57,500,000

830

$43,300,000

Oregon

2,740

$47,800,000

1,020

$50,200,000

Pennsylvania

8,420

$142,900,000

2,380

$125,900,000

Puerto Rico

2,550

$34,100,000

350

$9,300,000

Rhode Island

790

$12,100,000

180

$8,700,000

South Carolina

3,810

$66,400,000

1,360

$77,300,000

South Dakota

490

$7,900,000

180

$9,700,000

Tennessee

4,940

$83,800,000

1,410

$77,300,000

Texas

20,540

$340,600,000

5,260

$271,800,000

Utah

1,190

$20,400,000

360

$20,100,000

Vermont

340

$6,300,000

150

$8,800,000

Virginia

4,400

$83,600,000

1,730

$93,200,000

Washington

3,380

$59,500,000

1,460

$68,800,000

West Virginia

1,190

$21,700,000

340

$12,800,000

Wisconsin

2,800

$46,500,000

1,140

$55,600,000

Wyoming

320

$5,700,000

100

$5,400,000

All Other Locations

1,340

$24,900,000

710

$42,600,000

TOTALS

206,800

$3,630,200,000

65,740

$3,495,100,000

The sum of individual values may not equal the total due to rounding.

Tough Q&A

Are these approved or discharged?

  • These are approved numbers. Borrowers we have approved for relief will get their relief.

Can you give us the discharged number?

  • We do not have that currently available. In general, for most programs except for borrower defense the discharges occur fairly soon after the approval.

How many borrowers approved haven’t been discharged yet?

  • We do not have that currently available. In general, for most programs except for borrower defense the discharges occur fairly soon after the approval.
  • Borrower defense is more complicated because we give those borrowers refunds and only discharge loans from certain schools.

What is not shown on the state-by-state?

  • The vast majority of what’s not here are related to borrower defense, closed school, or related court settlements.

How does this compare to prior administrations?

  • We estimate that we’re almost 6x what’s been done in the last several years of IDR, PSLF, TPD, and BD.

You have been sued again by plaintiffs who invoke the major questions doctrine, this time on SAVE. How will this be different?

  • First, the Secretary of Education has clear authority to issue new income-driven repayment plans.  These plans have existed for a long time and previous Secretaries of Education have made changes through executive action.
  • This lawsuit is just another attack by Republican special interests and elected officials who want to prevent their own constituents from receiving fair and affordable repayment plans. Now they are going after borrowers saving on their monthly costs.
  • Let me be clear about this:  if the Republicans challenging the SAVE program get their way, millions of borrowers’ monthly payments will go up.
    • Many borrowers currently making reduced payments on their student loans because they have middle- and working-class incomes would suddenly find themselves paying an extra $1,000 a year on their loans.
    • Many borrowers would also lose their $0 monthly payment.
  • While Republicans fight to increase costs for student borrowers, the President is fighting on behalf of student loan borrowers to make sure higher education is a pathway to the middle class.

The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction. What happens if they get one?

  • The Secretary has clear authority to issue new income-driven repayment plans.
  • We remain confident in our authority and we are not going to speculate on ways these suits could aim to harm borrowers.

Could these discharges be reinstated?

  • We are telling borrowers they are approved for relief and are proud to give them the help they have earned.

Why do the new discharges listed not add up to 277,000?

  • We provided the new discharge numbers for IDR and SAVE but not for the additional PSLF numbers.

When will these borrowers be discharged?

  • We are going to start sending emails to borrowers Friday. Discharges will follow in the coming weeks.

Will borrowers be getting emails from the President on this announcement?

How do these discharges interact with the 30 million estimate provided earlier?

  • These can be some overlap among the numbers.
  • Overall we believe this work and the draft rules still to be issued would help provide relief for 30 million borrowers.

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