Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Biden canceled $6 billion in student loans for public service employees

  • By Madeline Halbert
  • BBC News, New York

image source, Good pictures

image caption,

Mr Biden's big plan to tackle student debt has been struck down by the Supreme Court

President Joe Biden has announced the cancellation of almost $6bn (£4.7bn) in student loans for 78,000 public service workers.

Teachers, nurses and firefighters are among those eligible for relief, the White House said.

To date, Mr. Biden has written off $143 billion in debt for nearly 4 million people.

Republicans have slammed the Democratic president's debt forgiveness, saying American taxpayers are ultimately footing the bill and that it raises university tuition.

In this latest move, 78,000 public service employees will have an average of about $77,000 in student loan debt cancellation.

“These public service employees have dedicated their lives to serving their communities, but due to past administrative failures, they have never received the relief they deserve under the law,” Mr Biden said in a statement.

About 43 million people in the United States have student loan debt, with federal loans accounting for the majority.

Since the Biden administration's sweeping plan for student loan relief was struck down by the Supreme Court last year, the president has been trying to roll out old and new loan repayment programs to help solve the debt.

The White House's initial plan would have forgiven up to $20,000 of debt per person, amounting to $400bn in student loans.

However, the US Supreme Court ruled that Mr Biden did not have the power to cancel that debt without the approval of Congress.

The issue has particularly excited young voters, a key constituency Mr Biden is trying to win before he faces former President Donald Trump in the 2024 presidential election.

Many young Americans were angry after the Supreme Court ruling and criticized the Biden administration for not doing more to address student loans.

Since then, the White House has been keen to highlight that Mr Biden has canceled more student loans than any other president.

The latest loan relief program applies to government and non-profit organization employees in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. This scheme allows some of the full-time employees to cancel their loan after 120 monthly payments.

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