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Biden announces $5.8b student loan forgiveness for public service workers

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The Biden administration unveiled a plan on Thursday to provide approximately $5.8 billion in student loan relief to over 77,700 public service workers.

This latest initiative is part of a series of measures aimed at addressing student debt issues, with the White House highlighting that the total amount of student debt forgiven since President Biden took office stands at approximately $144 billion, benefiting nearly four million Americans. The announcement coincides with the intensification of the 2024 general election cycle, underlining the administration’s commitment to fulfilling key campaign promises.

Furthermore, an estimated 380,000 additional public service workers can expect to receive notifications next week, indicating their eligibility for debt cancellation within the next two years. President Biden emphasized the administration’s efforts, noting that since assuming office, over 800,000 public service workers have received loan forgiveness through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. This marks a significant increase compared to the mere 7,000 individuals who had previously benefited from the program over its fifteen-year history.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona underscored the challenges faced by borrowers in public service roles, citing “logistical troubles and trap doors” hindering access to entitled debt relief. Notably, borrowers who have diligently made payments on their loans for a decade or more will now see their debts entirely forgiven. Cardona hailed the administration’s commitment to rectifying past shortcomings, affirming that the Biden administration is fulfilling promises that were previously unmet.

Vice President Kamala Harris highlighted the program’s impact, stating that it has provided an average debt forgiveness of $60,000 for public service workers. This announcement comes amidst the administration’s broader efforts to alleviate the burden of student loans, with President Biden utilizing executive authorities to introduce relief measures. The Supreme Court’s ruling last June thwarted a plan to cancel approximately $400 billion in debt, prompting the administration to pursue alternative avenues.

President Biden’s initiatives extend beyond the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, with the introduction of the Saving on Valuable Education (SAVE) plan. This plan, established last year, aims to replace existing income-based repayment plans, offering eligible borrowers reduced monthly payments, with many qualifying for lower overall payments compared to other repayment options. The administration’s dedication to addressing student debt is evident in its proactive approach, leveraging both executive actions and legislative proposals to tackle this pressing issue.

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