Does President Joe Biden owe you student loan forgiveness?
Here’s what you need to know.
Let’s cut to the chase. Biden has cancelled $11.5 billion of student loans, which is the most of any president. He’s announced major changes to student loan forgiveness. This includes $2 billion of student loans that will be cancelled within weeks. Yet, even with the momentum around student loan forgiveness, some say Biden hasn’t done enough. Specifically, against the wishes of progressives in Congress and a cross-section of student loan borrowers, Biden hasn’t enacted wide-scale student loan forgiveness. Without executive action to cancel all, or most, student loan debt, some Biden supporters are left asking this question: “Does Biden owe me student loan forgiveness?” Let’s break it down.
Why Biden owes you student loan forgiveness
Some student loan borrowers emphatically believe that Biden owes them student loan forgiveness. Why? They argue that Biden promised it during his presidential campaign. (How to get student loan forgiveness). As a candidate, Biden said he would seek to cancel up to $10,000 of student loans for student loan borrowers. If you voted for Biden thinking he would deliver student loan forgiveness, you also may feel that Biden “owes” you student loan forgiveness. Supporters say that wide-scale student loan cancellation would provide significant economic stimulus, give financial relief, reduce disparities, and offer additional capital to borrowers to start a business, save for retirement, buy a home, get married and start a family. For student loan borrowers who are struggling, getting out of debt is the difference between dreaming about a better life and living the American Dream.
Why Biden doesn’t owe you student loan forgiveness
Opponents of wide-scale student loan forgiveness say that Biden doesn’t “owe” anyone student loan forgiveness. They argue that Biden never promised student loan forgiveness as a presidential candidate. Rather, while he campaigned on student loan forgiveness, it’s no different than any politician making a political promise during an election. Biden never said he would cancel student loan debt; he has always wanted Congress to cancel student loans. (Here’s who qualifies for student loan forgiveness right now). Biden still supports up to $10,000 of student loan forgiveness, but has insisted repeatedly that he doesn’t have the legal authority to cancel student loan debt without further authorization from Congress. Opponents also argue that student loan forgiveness is not a right that is owed to anyone. While the cost of higher education is substantial, opponents argue that student loan borrowers should pay off the student loans they borrow like any other type of debt. (Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness if you don’t work in public service).
Will Biden cancel your student loans?
Student loan borrowers are wondering: “Will Biden cancel my student loans?” (Here’s how to apply for student loan forgiveness from the Biden administration). If you ask Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), they’ll tell you that Biden is one signature away from freeing a generation of student loan borrowers from the shackles of student loan debt. Through a single executive order, Schumer and Warren say Biden can completely erase student loan debt for 36 million student loan borrowers. So far, Biden has continued to disagree with their position, instead focusing on targeted student loan cancellation. This week, U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona confirmed that the Education Department will be cancelling $2 billion of student loans within weeks. This is another example of signaling a clear commitment for student loan forgiveness, but it’s not the wide-scale student loan forgiveness that progressives in Congress want. You may think Biden “owes” you student loan forgiveness. Or, you may think Biden doesn’t owe you student loan forgiveness, but you still need student loan relief. While the Biden administration is considering wide-scale student loan forgiveness, there is no indication that any wide-scale student loan forgiveness is imminent. So, don’t expect Biden to cancel everyone’s student loan debt. Instead, a better strategy is to focus on student loan repayment, particularly for your federal student loans, which will restart beginning February 1, 2022. The end of student loan relief is approaching, so make sure you’re prepared. Here are some smart options to pay off student loans:
Student Loans: Related Reading
How to apply for limited student loan forgiveness
Education Department will cancel $2 billion of student loans
Here’s who qualifies for student loan forgiveness right now
3 ways to get a lower student loan payment