Navigating Market Trends, Personal Finance Tips, and Economic Insights

The Biden administration continued its effort to extend student debt relief on Thursday, erasing an additional $5.8 billion in federal loans for nearly 78,000 borrowers, including teachers, firefighters and others who largely work in the public sector.

To date, the administration has canceled $143.6 billion in loans for nearly four million borrowers through various actions, fixes and federal relief programs. That’s the largest amount of student debt eliminated since the government began backing loans more than six decades ago, but it’s still far less than President Biden’s initial proposal, which would have canceled up to $400 billion in debt for 43 million borrowers but was blocked by the Supreme Court.

The latest debt erasures apply to government and nonprofit employees in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which can eliminate their balance after 120 payments. The P.S.L.F. program, which was plagued with administrative and other problems, has improved in recent years after the administration made a series of fixes.

“For too long, our nation’s teachers, nurses, social workers, firefighters and other public servants faced logistical troubles and trap doors when they tried to access the debt relief they were entitled to under the law,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said.

Since those October 2021, more than 871,000 public service and nonprofit workers have received debt cancellation totaling $62.5 billion; before that, just 7,000 had reached forgiveness since the program was created more than 15 years ago.

Starting next week, borrowers who are set to receive the latest round of debt cancellation through the P.S.L.F. program will receive an email notification from Mr. Biden — a reminder of his administration’s work just eight months before the presidential election.

An additional 380,000 federal borrowers in the P.S.L.F program who are on track to have their loans forgiven in less than two years will receive emails from the president notifying them that they will be eligible for debt cancellation if they continue their public service work within that period.

Many of these borrowers have been helped by programs that tried to address past errors that may have failed to credit individuals for payments. As a result, many borrowers received account adjustments, or additional credits, pushing them closer to the repayment finish line.

Millions of borrowers with certain types of loans are still eligible for some of those adjustments, but they will need to apply to consolidate those loans by April 30 to qualify.

“There are a lot of people who need to consolidate by this deadline to benefit and potentially access life-changing student loan relief,” said Abby Shafroth, co-director of advocacy at the National Consumer Law Center. They include borrowers with privately held loans in the Federal Family and Education Loan, Perkins Loan and Health Education Assistance Loan programs, she added. (People with direct loans or loans held by the Education Department don’t need to do anything to have their payment counts adjusted; it happens automatically.)

Besides P.S.L.F., the administration has extended relief through a variety of other federal relief programs: About 935,500 borrowers were approved for $45.6 billion in debt cancellation through income-driven repayment plans, which base monthly payments on a borrower’s earnings and household size. After a set period of repayment, usually 20 years, any remaining debt is erased.

Another 1.3 million people had $22.5 billion wiped out through the federal borrower defense program, which provides relief to those defrauded by their schools.

The administration’s latest round of completed debt relief comes on the heels of its bungled rollout of the new Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, which was supposed to simplify the process. Instead, technical and other problems have created delays, leaving colleges without student financial information that they need to make aid offers. Students have been left in limbo, unable to make decisions on where they’ll attend college.

Share this article
Shareable URL
Prev Post
Next Post
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read next
The idea is simple: Artists upload high-resolution images of their work. A fulfillment center prints and ships…
Dear Santa, I’ve been so very good this year. Could you please bring me a miniature cow? I promise I’ll take…
Not long ago, streaming TV came with a promise: Sign up, and commercials will be a thing of the past. Netflix…