Joe Biden

ICYMI: Biden Administration's SAVE Plan Cancels Debt For 153,000 Student Loan Borrowers

February 23, 2024

This week, the Biden-Harris Administration announced early student debt cancellation for 153,000 borrowers who took out loans below $12,000 and have been in repayment for at least a decade. This action is part of President Biden's unwavering commitment to cancel debt for as many borrowers as possible. In total, his Administration has approved nearly $138 billion in student debt cancellation for 3.9 million borrowers through various actions. While Congressional Republicans have made continuous attempts to block this relief, the Biden Administration has canceled the most student debt out of any Administration in history and shows no signs of stopping.

Read more below:

CNN: Biden has canceled nearly $138 billion in student loan debt so far
[Katie Lobosco, 2/21/24]

Nearly $138 billion of federal student loan debt has been canceled for almost 3.9 million borrowers since Biden took office.
At first, debt relief under SAVE was not scheduled to begin until July – but the Biden administration said last month that it would start ahead of schedule in February.

Under Biden, the Department of Education has canceled more federal student loan debt than during any previous administration – in part due to efforts to temporarily expand some debt relief programs and to correct past administrative errors made to borrowers' student loan accounts.

Slate: Biden's Plan B on Student Loan Forgiveness Is a Massive and Improbable Success
[Shirin Ali and Mark Joseph Stern, 2/23/24]

As of Feb. 23, [the Biden Administration's] actions have resulted in $136.6 billion in canceled federal student loan debt for 3.5 million borrowers and counting. A series of seemingly modest changes to the system have, little by little, added up to a head-spinning sum. And more is coming—including another sweeping program that could cancel hundreds of billions in debt for tens of millions of Americans.

The SAVE plan is important—in some ways, revolutionary—because 53 percent of borrowers actually owe less than $20,000. Many of these borrowers attended community college and are in low- and middle-income households. And overall, most borrowers in default originally borrowed $12,000 or less. The SAVE plan frees struggling borrowers who've made payments for 10 years, wiping out their loans in one fell swoop. All in clear accordance with existing law. […]

Student debt relief advocates have good reason to be disappointed with the Supreme Court, but they have no cause to scorn the president. When legal pressure forced him to restart loan payments last year, the Education Department instituted a 12-month on-ramp to excuse those who could not yet afford payments. When the courts blocked his stab at one-time relief, the agency rolled out a series of policies that reduced or zeroed out billions in debt for millions of people. And at this moment, the agency is plowing ahead with a program that could wipe hundreds of billions of debt off the books in the coming years.

USA Today: Biden cancels $1.2B in student loan debt for borrowers on income-driven repayment
[Zachary Schermele, 2/21/24]

The latest loan forgiveness, announced by the Education Department on Wednesday, targets a specific group of longtime borrowers enrolled in the Education Department's much-touted repayment plan, which adjusts monthly bills based on people's incomes. It comes just a day before a group of federal negotiators is set to discuss broader plans for even more student debt relief.

It's also the first batch of forgiveness to come through since the Education Department sped up its timeline last month for implementing President Joe Biden's income-based repayment plan, dubbed Saving on a Valuable Education, or SAVE. Initially, the relief wasn't set to be approved until later this summer. At that time, the department couldn't say how many borrowers might get automatic cancellation.

"From day one of my Administration, I vowed to fix student loan programs so higher education can be a ticket to the middle class – not a barrier to opportunity." Biden wrote in an email set to go out to eligible borrowers. "I hope this relief gives you a little more breathing room."

The Washington Post: Biden administration cancels $1.2B in student loans with new repayment plan
[Danielle Douglas-Gabriel, 2/21/24]

The notice makes good on the administration's promise to accelerate forgiveness for borrowers with low original balances who are enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (Save) plan. Rather than wait 20 to 25 years for relief through other income-driven repayment plans, enrollees in the Save plan who borrowed less than $12,000 can have their debt wiped clean after 10 years of payments. The Education Department had originally planned to begin forgiveness in July but started identifying eligible borrowers this month.

"This plan reflects our unapologetic commitment to deliver as much relief as possible to as many borrowers as possible, as quickly as possible," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. "We're providing real, immediate breathing room from an unacceptable reality where student loan payments compete with basic needs."

With this latest round of student loan forgiveness, the Biden administration has approved almost $138 billion in debt relief for 3.9 million people. Under Biden, the education agency has focused on lowering the debt burden of those who borrowed money for college, expanding or easing rules for existing relief programs. It is also crafting another plan to offer relief to more borrowers after a loan forgiveness plan that Biden introduced in 2022 was struck down by the Supreme Court last year.

CBS: Biden administration is forgiving $1.2 billion in student debt for 153,000 borrowers. Here's who qualifies.
[Aimee Picchi, 2/21/24]

The Biden administration on Wednesday said it is automatically forgiving $1.2 billion in student debt for 153,000 borrowers. Loan holders whose debt will be discharged will receive an email from President Joe Biden today informing them of the forgiveness, the Department of Education said.

The debt relief is the latest push from the White House to address the nation's $1.77 trillion in student debt after the Supreme Court last year invalidated the Biden administration's plan for broad-based student loan forgiveness. That plan would have helped more than 40 million borrowers each wipe away up to $20,000 in debt.

With this latest round, the Biden administration said it has approved loan relief for nearly 3.9 million borrowers, many of whom have been repaying their debt for decades. The 153,000 borrowers who qualify for the latest debt forgiveness are those who are enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan and who have made at least 10 years of payments.

Reuters: Biden administration to cancel another $1.2 billion of student loans
[Jeff Mason, 2/21/24]

The administration has now canceled some $138 billion in student debt for nearly 3.9 million people through executive actions, the White House said.

The latest announcement applies to people enrolled in a repayment program known as Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) and covers those who borrowed $12,000 or less who have been repaying the money for at least 10 years.

The move will "particularly help community college and other borrowers with smaller loans and put many on track to being free of student debt faster than ever before," the White House said.

CNBC: Biden administration to forgive $1.2 billion in student debt for over 150,000 borrowers
[Annie Nova, 2/21/24]

Borrowers usually get debt forgiveness under income-driven repayment plans, including SAVE, after 20 or 25 years of payments. But under the SAVE plan, those who borrowed less can get their debt canceled after just a decade.
In January, the Biden administration said it would soon start to forgive the debt of these borrowers who had signed up for its new plan.

After the Supreme Court blocked Biden's sweeping student loan forgiveness plan last June, his administration has explored all of its existing authority to leave people with less education debt.

Axios: Biden cancels another $1.2 billion in student loans
[Sareen Habeshain, 2/21/24]

Servicers will process the forgiveness in coming days and borrowers should see their loans forgiven on their accounts, the department said.
Next week, the Education Department will start emailing borrowers who can become eligible for this type forgiveness if they switch to the SAVE program.
"With today's announcement, we are once again sending a clear message to borrowers who had low balances: if you've been paying for a decade, you've done your part, and you deserve relief," U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

Politico: Biden will email 153,000 student loan borrowers: I'm canceling your debt
[Michael Stratford, 2/21/24]

The White House said the event will include some of the borrowers who will benefit from the announcement as well as those who've previously had their debts canceled by Biden.

The administration says that it has now approved loan discharges totaling nearly $138 billion for nearly 3.9 million borrowers through dozens of administrative actions since coming into office.

"Congratulations—all or a portion of your federal student loans will be forgiven because you qualify for early loan forgiveness under my Administration's SAVE Plan," says the email message from Biden that the Education Department plans to send on Wednesday to the latest group of borrowers receiving loan forgiveness.

NPR: Student loan balances wiped for the first batch of borrowers in Biden's SAVE plan
[Ana Perez, Steve Inskeep, 2/21/24]

An email went out this morning to some student loan borrowers basically saying, you're debt free.

On Wednesday, the federal Education Department zeroed out loan balances for nearly 153,000 borrowers. They are people who borrowed $12,000 or less, have been paying their student loans for at least 10 years, and enrolled in the Biden administration's new repayment plan called SAVE launched last summer. 

"We're providing debt relief to people who need it the most," said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona on Wednesday in an interview on NPR's Morning Edition. "We're also addressing the root cause of the issue, which is, the cost of college is out of control," Cardona said.

Forbes: Student Loan Forgiveness: Biden Administration Cancels Another $1.2 Billion In Debt
[Ty Roush, 2/21/24]

Borrowers enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan will be notified this week whether they are among those affected by the debt cancellation, which will impact borrowers who have been making payments for at least 10 years after taking out $12,000 or less in student loans, the White House said.

Borrowers notified about their debt cancellation won't need to take any additional steps to receive loan forgiveness, the Education Department said, adding student loan servicers will start discharging debt relief in "the coming days."

The Biden administration opened enrollment for the SAVE program in August. Under the new plan, borrowers' monthly payments are tied to their income and family size, and loans are forgiven after 10 or more years of consistent payments. The program was formally launched after the Supreme Court rejected President Joe Biden's more sweeping plan to immediately cancel at least $10,000 in student loans for all borrowers who make less than $125,000, adding up to about $400 billion in student loan debt.

ABC News: 150,000 more student loan borrowers to receive debt relief beginning Wednesday
[Cheyenne Haslett, 2/21/24]

Roughly 7.5 million Americans are enrolled in the SAVE Plan, which just launched this past summer.

The 153,000 who are getting automatic relief starting Wednesday are the first tranche of borrowers to benefit from this aspect of the plan. Moving forward, anyone else who enrolls in the plan and meets this criteria will also get debt relief.

As of Wednesday, there are many Americans who could actually qualify for this debt relief but aren't enrolled in the SAVE Plan, something the Biden administration says it's working to improve outreach on as an estimated 27 million Americans are currently in repayment for student loans.

Business Insider: 153,000 Student-Loan Borrowers Get $1.2B in Debt Relief: Save Income-Driven Payment Plan
[Ayelet Sheffey, 2/21/24]

According to the Education Department, Biden will begin sending emails to impacted borrowers on Wednesday notifying them of their relief, and they will not need to take any additional action. Servicers "in the coming says" will begin applying the changes to borrowers' accounts.

The Education Department has vowed to conduct oversight over servicers, and in the meantime, it is continuing to carry out targeted forms of relief to borrowers who have completed their qualifying payments on repayment plans.

For too long the system did not work for borrowers. Even when they were eligible for loan forgiveness," Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal said in a statement. "Today's announcement shows that President Biden's commitment to student debt cancellation continues to deliver."

US News: Biden Administration Cancels $1.2 Billion in Student Loan Debt for 150,000 Borrowers
[Lauren Camera, 2/21/24]

Those who qualify were set to receive an email from Biden underscoring his commitment to tackling the issue.

"I hope this relief gives you a little more breathing room," the letter reads in part. "I've heard from countless people who have told me that relieving the burden of their student loan debt will allow them to support themselves and their families, buy their first home, start a small business, and move forward with life plans they've put on hold."

According to a financial analysis by the Education Department, the new plan is already having the intended effect – to free up capital among those with the most crushing debts.

The Hill: Biden cancels student debt for 150k borrowers
[Brett Samuels, 2/21/24]

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it is forgiving a total of $1.2 billion in student debt for roughly 153,000 borrowers.

The relief comes through the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan, which made changes to income driven repayment plans in the wake of a Supreme Court decision overturning President Biden's more ambitious student loan debt cancellation plan.

The first batch of loan forgiveness through the SAVE plan was planned for July, but the Education Department identified eligible borrowers sooner.

The New York Post: Biden administration to cancel another $1.2B of student loans
[Josh Christenson, 2/21/24]

The White House said Wednesday it is canceling $1.2 billion worth of student loans for some 153,000 people, moving forward with a piecemeal solution to its debt forgiveness pledge after the Supreme Court struck down an earlier scheme to cancel $430 billion.

"With today's announcement, we are once again sending a clear message to borrowers who had low balances: if you've been paying for a decade, you've done your part, and you deserve relief," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

The Education Department has since pushed other loan cancellation gambits through existing programs, canceling some $138 billion in student debt for nearly 3.9 million people through executive actions, the White House said.

NBC News: Biden administration cancels student loans of more than 150,000 borrowers under new plan
[Rebecca Shabad and Tara Prindiville, 2/21/24]

A borrower can qualify for the forgiveness if they're enrolled in the administration's Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan and "have been making at least 10 years of payments, and have originally taken out $12,000 or less for college," a White House fact sheet said. It also said that "for every $1,000 borrowed above $12,000, a borrower can receive forgiveness after an additional year of payments."

As an example, the fact sheet said, "a borrower enrolled in SAVE who took out $14,000 or less in federal loans to earn an associate's degree in biotechnology would receive full debt relief starting this week if they have been in repayment for 12 years."

"These are historic efforts that reflect the president's commitment, again, to deliver as much relief as possible to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible," he said. "Bottom line is this: We're providing real, immediate breathing room on an unacceptable reality where student loan payments compete with basic needs, like putting food on the table and accessing health care."

The New York Times: Biden Chips Away at Student Loan Debt, Bit by Bit, Amid High Expectations
[Zolan Kanno-Youngs, 2/21/24]

After the Supreme Court struck down President Biden's plan to cancel billions of dollars in student loan debt, borrowers wondered how he would make good on his promise to tackle debt burdening millions of Americans.

But even Mr. Biden's critics acknowledge that he has gone further than any of his predecessors in relieving the debt burden for millions of borrowers. 

To work around the Supreme Court decision, Mr. Biden has pursued a more piecemeal approach, tweaking existing programs long plagued by bureaucratic delays. The debt cancellation he announced on Wednesday was an example of that, affecting about 150,000 borrowers enrolled in what is known as the SAVE plan, an income-driven repayment program, who have lower balances and have made payments for at least a decade.

ABC News: Biden touts new student debt relief as ticket to 'chase dreams'

[Cheyenne Haslett, 2/21/24]

President Joe Biden touted a new pathway for debt relief that kicked into gear Wednesday for 153,000 student loan borrowers, calling it a ticket to "chase dreams" in a speech in Culver City, California, and highlighting a key part of his 2024 campaign strategy.

Biden's continued efforts to cancel debt in a more piecemeal fashion have now been reached nearly 3.9 million borrowers, which he continues to highlight on the campaign trail in an attempt to gain support from a key voting group.

And the administration is continuing to work on a plan B to Biden's initial debt relief proposal that was rejected by the Supreme Court, taking a narrower approach that could cancel debt for people most constrained by it.

AP News: Biden says too many Americans are saddled with school debt as he cancels federal loans for 153,000
[Aamer Madhani, Collin Binkley, and Colleen Long, 2/21/24]

President Joe Biden said Wednesday that while a college degree was still a ticket to a better life, that ticket is often too expensive, as he announced he was canceling federal student loans for nearly 153,000 borrowers. […]

Biden announced the new loan repayment plan last year alongside a separate plan to cancel up to $20,000 in loans for millions of Americans. The Supreme Court struck down his plan for widespread forgiveness, but the repayment plan has so far escaped that level of legal scrutiny. Unlike his proposal for mass cancellation — which had never been done before — the repayment plan is a twist on existing income-based plans created by Congress more than a decade ago.

Joseph R. Biden, ICYMI: Biden Administration's SAVE Plan Cancels Debt For 153,000 Student Loan Borrowers Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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