Biden canceled $1.2 billion in student loan debt for 150,000 borrowers

After the Supreme Court rejected President Biden's plan to cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, borrowers wondered how he would fix his promise to tackle the debt of millions of Americans.

Answer: He will do it little by little.

Mr. Biden canceled Wednesday $1.2 billion in student loan debt, bringing a total of $138 billion in write-offs to 3.9 million borrowers during his tenure. That's a far cry from his initial plan, which would have canceled $400 billion in loans to about 43 million borrowers.

But Mr. Even Biden's critics agree that he has gone further than his predecessors in unburdening millions of borrowers.

Speaking to a small crowd at a library in Culver City, California, Mr. “It's good for the economy as a whole,” Biden said Wednesday. Finally able to move on with their lives.

To work around the Supreme Court decision, Mr. Biden has pursued a more piecemeal approach, overhauling programs that have long been plagued by bureaucratic delays. One example of that is the loan cancellations he announced Wednesday, which affected about 150,000 borrowers enrolled in the SAVE program, an income-based repayment program, who have low balances and have made payments for at least a decade.

While his administration has periodically announced cancellations of such limited loans over the past year, during a fundraising swing in California, Mr. Biden stopped short of addressing the issue personally, reflecting the White House's intention to take more credit for it. Democratic allies have urged the administration to push for debt cancellation to strengthen key constituencies, including young voters and black borrowers.

“Statistically the most common experience with student debt is that you file for relief, you thought you were going to get it, and then the Supreme Court knocks it down, Biden says relief, and you get no relief,” Braxton Brewington said. Press Secretary for Debt Collective, an advocacy group focused on student loan cancellation.

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South Carolina Democratic Representative James E. Clyburn, Mr. Mr. Trump helped revive Mr. Biden's ailing 2020 primary campaign, which many voters did more than he did.

“Everywhere I go, students tell me, 'Joe Biden hasn't kept his promise on student loan relief,'” Mr. Clyburn said. “Nobody talks about the wins.”

The struggle illustrates a broader challenge facing the White House, according to interviews with Democratic officials, debt relief advocates and voters. In many ways, Mr. Biden has fallen victim to the high expectations set by his initial sweeping plans, with many voters disillusioned with what he has failed to deliver despite significant policy successes on many fronts.

The president has made the most ambitious investment in history to fight climate change, but polls have found that most Americans are unaware of his signature climate legislation. Despite a massive stimulus bill and big investments in infrastructure and healthcare, voters believe he hasn't accomplished much. Also in 2020 Mr. Even many voters who supported Biden were unimpressed with the economy, despite falling inflation and unemployment near historic lows.

But Mr. Biden's aides believe student loan cancellation is a way to quickly improve the lives of some Americans and help turn the tide on his low approval numbers.

More limited measures have helped public service workers and people with disabilities. Last week, the Education Department also unveiled a plan to cancel student loans for additional borrowers who are experiencing “difficulties” in paying off their college loans.

In the round announced Wednesday, those in the SAVE program who originally borrowed up to $12,000 and made at least 10 years of qualifying monthly payments will have their debt wiped out.

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In a sign of the struggle to get credit for the efforts, the administration said Mr. Biden sent an email to affected borrowers on Wednesday informing them that their loans would be canceled this week.

“If you qualify, you will hear from me soon,” said Mr. Biden said.

Mr. Brewington, Mr. Student Loans He said Biden's solution approach was “better than any other administration.”

But while only a fraction of the crores of people who were initially expected to benefit have canceled their loans, Mr. Convincing voters that Biden has delivered on student loan obligations will be a challenge, he said.

To announce his broad plan to forgive student loans, Mr. Biden's more than a year in office only raised expectations among voters, Mr. Brewington said. After predicting during the 2020 campaign that he would cancel some student loans, Mr. Biden has agonized over the decision, repeatedly pressing his staff for data showing it won't be a payoff for the rich.

“They want to talk about the work they've done on student loans, and I think they're trying to have some nuance, but to an extent, that's not going to land with a lot of people,” Mr. Added Brewington. “Especially when you say 'promises fulfilled'. I mean, good grace.”

Mr. Enthusiasm to Voters by Canceling Student Loans Biden's ability has been made more difficult by the fanfare launch of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. Delays and confusion have hampered colleges' ability to provide the aid packages that millions of students — especially low-income students — rely on to make college decisions.

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Republicans have seized on the disturbing release to accuse the White House of prioritizing campaign promises over delivering on policy.

Last month, Education Secretary Miguel A. In a letter to Cardona, Reps. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina and Burgess Owens of Utah accused him of “focusing on shifting student debt to taxpayers and not on actually implementing the laws passed by Congress.”

To show the results of his student loan relief efforts, Mr. Biden made an unannounced campaign stop last month at the home of Eric Fitts, a 49-year-old educator in North Carolina who has written off about $125,000 in student loans. Instead of paying off the debt, she plans to invest in college funds for her two sons — who are Mr. Dined with Biden — and is starting a real estate business.

Talking about his debt, Mr. Fitz told Mr Biden “how much of a burden it was and how much of an obstacle it was to certain things and opportunities”.

But Ashley Pizzuti, a student loan relief attorney who was tapped by the administration to help negotiate regulation for more forgiveness, said Mr.

“There are a lot of people who are really upset because they were told they were going to get this pardon and it was taken back,” said Mr. Ms Pizzuti said of the Supreme Court blocking of Mr Biden's plan. “A lot of people blame Biden for that.”

As a result, Ms. Pizzuti said, “he didn't live up to his word.”

Erica L. Green Contributed report from Washington.

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