Home » Biden Announces $7.7 Billion Student Debt Forgiveness, Republicans Push Back

Biden Announces $7.7 Billion Student Debt Forgiveness, Republicans Push Back

by Richard A Reagan

The Biden administration has announced a sweeping $7.7 billion student debt forgiveness plan that will affect over 160,000 borrowers.

This initiative, revealed by the Department of Education, is part of a broader attempt to alleviate the financial burdens of education for many Americans. However, it has sparked controversy, particularly among fiscal conservatives and Republican lawmakers, who criticize the increased government spending and its impact on taxpayers.

The recent announcement targets three main groups: participants in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, those eligible under Biden’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, and borrowers benefitting from administrative adjustments to Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans. Specifically, $5.2 billion will assist 66,900 borrowers through PSLF, $613 million will aid 54,300 borrowers under the SAVE Plan, and $1.9 billion will go to 39,200 borrowers through IDR adjustments.

Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona explained the administration’s commitment to reducing student debt burdens, stating, “The Biden-Harris Administration remains persistent about our efforts to bring student debt relief to millions more across the country, and this announcement proves it.”

Since taking office, President Biden has cleared $167 billion in student loan debt, impacting nearly 4.75 million Americans. The administration highlights these figures as evidence of their dedication to making higher education a stepping stone to the middle class rather than a financial barrier.

The administration has also championed increases to the maximum Pell Grant and the implementation of new rules aimed at protecting students from unaffordable educational programs.

President Biden remarked, “From day one of my Administration, I promised to fight to ensure higher education is a ticket to the middle class, not a barrier to opportunity. I will never stop working to cancel student debt – no matter how many times Republican elected officials try to stop us.”

However, this approach has faced fierce opposition.

A notable backlash has come in the form of a bicameral rejection letter authored by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA), along with 130 other Republican members of Congress. They argue that the Biden administration’s plans, including the latest $750 billion “Plan B,” constitute a “backdoor attempt to enact ‘free’ college” and shift an unfair financial burden onto taxpayers.

The letter insists, “The Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that there is zero authority to write-off federal student loans en masse last June when the Department’s ‘Plan A’ was ruled unconstitutional.”

Critics also highlight administrative challenges, such as the noted 40% drop in FAFSA completion rates among high school seniors, suggesting that the Department of Education is prioritizing loan forgiveness over essential services that could prevent future debt.

The financial and political implications of the Biden administration’s student debt forgiveness initiatives remain a contentious issue. With substantial sums being directed away from other potential uses, the long-term effects on the economy and the federal budget are yet to be fully understood.

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