The Biden administration is proposing student loan relief for several more categories of borrowers in an effort to chip away at the nation’s enormous student debt problem after the Supreme Court squashed a broad plan to do so this summer.
The Department of Education released the proposal Monday. It would provide debt relief for four groups: people who “currently have outstanding federal student loan balances that exceed what they originally borrowed,” people who have loans that are more than 25 years past the start of their repayment date, people who “took out loans to attend career-training programs that created unreasonable debt loads or provided insufficient earnings for graduates,” and people who are eligible for forgiveness but have not proactively applied for it.
A fifth group of people who are experiencing financial hardship is also under consideration.
The proposal would build on other debt relief initiatives that have helped nearly 3.6 million borrowers wipe away a total of $127 billion so far, according to the Department of Education.
Instead of resting on the HEROES Act like Biden’s first plan, which tied debt relief to the pandemic, the new proposal leans on the Higher Education Act.
A committee of negotiators will discuss the proposal at hearings scheduled Nov. 6 and 7 and Dec. 11 and 12.
“President Biden and I are committed to helping borrowers who’ve been failed by our country’s broken and unaffordable student loan system,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
While President Joe Biden attempted to offer up to $20,000 of student debt relief to a broad swath of borrowers last year, lawsuits brought by conservative groups put an end to that plan.
Instead, the administration has rolled out a patchwork of forgiveness plans, such as the SAVE Plan that aims to lower loan repayments by tying them to borrowers’ income.