Student Loan Relief for Many
Last updated 9/7/2022 at 10:13am
President Joe Biden announced on August 24, student loan relief for most borrowers – a three-part plan to his promise to cancel $10,000 of student debt for low- to middle-income borrowers.
In the statement released by the Biden administration, it stated that this plan, “offers targeted debt relief as part of a comprehensive effort to address the burden of growing college costs and make the student loan system more manageable for working families.” The three-part plan provides more breathing room to America’s working families as they continue to recover from the strains associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Department of Education will:
- Provide targeted debt relief to address the financial harms of the pandemic, fulfilling the President’s campaign commitment. The Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education, and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples). No high-income individual or high-income household – in the top 5% of incomes – will benefit from this action. To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the pause on federal student loan repayment will be extended one final time through December 31, 2022. Borrowers should expect to resume payment in January 2023.
- Make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers by:
- Cutting monthly payments in half for undergraduate loans. The Department of Education is proposing a new income-driven repayment plan that protects more low-income borrowers from making any payments and caps monthly payments for undergraduate loans at 5% of a borrower’s discretionary income – half of the rate that borrowers must pay now under most existing plans. This means that the average annual student loan payment will be lowered by more than $1,000 for both current and future borrowers.
- Fixing the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program by proposing a rule that borrowers who have worked at a nonprofit, in the military, or in federal, state, tribal, or local government, receive appropriate credit toward loan forgiveness. These improvements will build on temporary changes the Department of Education has already made to PSLF, under which more than 175,000 public servants have already had more than $10 billion in loan forgiveness approved.
- Protect future students and taxpayers by reducing the cost of college and holding schools accountable when they hike up prices. The President championed the largest increase to Pell Grants in over a decade and one of the largest one-time influxes to colleges and universities. To further reduce the cost of college, the President will continue to fight to double the maximum Pell Grant and make community college free. Meanwhile, colleges have an obligation to keep prices reasonable and ensure borrowers get value for their investments, not debt they cannot afford. This Administration has already taken key steps to strengthen accountability, including in areas where the previous Administration weakened rules. The Department of Education is announcing new efforts to ensure student borrowers get value for their college costs.
To address the financial harms of the pandemic for low- and middle-income borrowers and avoid defaults as loan repayment restarts next year, the Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in loan relief to borrowers with loans held by the Department of Education whose individual income is less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples) and who received a Pell Grant. Nearly every Pell Grant recipient came from a family that made less than $60,000 a year, and Pell Grant recipients typically experience more challenges repaying their debt than other borrowers. Borrowers who meet those income standards but did not receive a Pell Grant in college can receive up to $10,000 in loan relief.
The Pell Grant program is one of America’s most effective financial aid programs, but its value has been eroded over time. Pell Grant recipients are more than 60% of the borrower population. The Department of Education estimates that roughly 27 million borrowers will be eligible to receive up to $20,000 in relief, helping these borrowers meet their economic potential and avoid economic harm from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Current students with loans are eligible for this debt relief. Borrowers who are dependent students will be eligible for relief based on parental income, rather than their own income.