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Biden-Harris Administration Continues Rulemaking Process to Provide Debt Relief for More Student Loan Borrowers

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The Biden-Harris Administration today announced that it will hold an additional negotiated rulemaking session on February 22 and 23 focused on the issue of providing relief for borrowers experiencing hardship. This session is a continuation of the critical work that started last summer when the Administration announced it would be pursuing a new regulatory process to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible. These efforts build on the Administration’s approval of more than $136.6 billion in targeted relief for over 3.7 million Americans through various actions.

The session will focus exclusively on the issues related to hardship, including regulatory text provided at least a week in advance for review by the negotiators and the public. Sessions will be held virtually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time. There will also be one hour of public comment from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the end of the first day.  

“The Biden-Harris Administration will never stop working to deliver student debt relief for borrowers,” said Under Secretary James Kvaal. “We look forward to discussing another avenue for borrower relief related to hardship at our next negotiation session.”

The Department is separately continuing its work on draft rules covering the other issues discussed at the third session, for publication later this year. This includes relief for borrowers whose balances exceed what they originally borrowed, who first entered repayment long ago, who are eligible for relief but have not applied for it, or who attended programs or institutions that failed to provide sufficient financial value. Those issues will not be discussed at this session because the Department has already sought consensus on that regulatory text.

Updates on the student debt relief negotiated rulemaking process will be posted here. This includes a transcript and archived video of the sessions. Members of the public who wish to view the sessions or provide public testimony can also find a link on that page where they can register to do so. The public will have an opportunity to submit written comments on the draft rules when they are published later this year.

Continuing to provide debt relief and support borrowers

Today’s announcement builds on the work the Biden-Harris Administration has already done to improve the student loan program and make higher education more affordable. This includes approving over $136.6 billion in relief for more than 3.7 million borrowers through various actions, including:

  • $45.7 billion for 930,500 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. 
  • $56.7 billion for 793,400 borrowers through PSLF. This includes borrowers who have benefitted from the Biden-Harris Administration’s limited PSLF waiver as well as regulatory improvements made to the program by the Administration. Prior to the Biden-Harris Administration’s fixes to PSLF, only about 7,000 borrowers had ever received forgiveness.
  • $11.7 billion for almost 513,000 borrowers with a total and permanent disability.
  • $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.

The Biden-Harris Administration remains committed to making college more affordable and also ensuring student debt is not a roadblock to obtaining a college degree or credential and planning for the future. The Administration launched the most affordable student loan repayment plan ever—the SAVE Plan—last year, has made the largest increase to Pell Grants in a decade, and has charted a course to double the maximum Pell Grant and make community college free to enhance college affordability and reduce student debt. The Administration is also holding institutions accountable for unaffordable debts and recently finalized regulations that would set standards for graduate earnings and debt outcomes for career programs, while enhancing transparency for all programs to give students the information they need to make informed choices.

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