The overhaul of a controversial loan forgiveness program was projected to erase the debt of 22,000 student loan borrowers in the effort’s first weeks. Three months in, more than triple that figure have had their debts wiped out.
The U.S. Department of Education released the Public Service Forgiveness Loan figures Thursday, a year into President Joe Biden’s term as president.
The loan forgiveness initiative, which was rolled out in 2007, was designed to entice people to work as teachers, police officers, firefighters or in other public jobs. After 10 years working in those jobs and making payments, their college debt would be erased. In practice, the federal government forgave almost no one’s debt.
When the Biden administration loosened standards in October, the agency estimated more than 22,000 borrowers would benefit immediately, and 27,000 would qualify as soon as they proved they worked in an eligible job.
Data from the department shows roughly 70,000 borrowers have qualified for nearly $5 billion in relief.
The Biden administration estimates as many as 550,000 borrowers could benefit from the changes to the program.
Those who have worked for a decade in public service should be able to rely on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, but until October, the system hadn’t delivered on its promise, said James Kvaal, undersecretary of the Department of Education.
“Teachers, nurses, first responders, service members and so many public service workers have had our back, especially amid the challenges of the pandemic,” Kvaal said. “One year in, the Biden administration continues to demonstrate that we have their backs, too.”
Biden faces calls to use his executive authority to forgive student loan debt for more of the 43 million federal borrowers. The president campaigned on forgiving up to $10,000 per borrower but said it’s Congress’ job to issue student loan forgiveness. He was asked about canceling student loan debt near the end of a news conference Wednesday but ended the conference without answering….ReadMore…