Washington DC: More than 40 million Americans could see their student loan debt reduced — and in many cases eliminated — under the long-awaited forgiveness plan President Joe Biden announced Wednesday, a historic but politically divisive move in the run-up to the midterm elections.
Fulfilling a campaign promise, Biden is erasing $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those with incomes below $125,000 a year, or households that earn less than $250,000. He’s canceling an additional $10,000 for those who received federal Pell Grants to attend college.
“Both of these targeted actions are for families who need it the most: working and middle-class people hit especially hard during the pandemic,” Biden said at the White House Wednesday afternoon.
Republicans quickly denounced the plan as an insult to Americans who have repaid their debt and to those who didn’t attend college. Critics across the political spectrum also questioned whether Biden has authority for the move, and legal challenges are virtually certain.
Biden also extended a pause on federal student loan payments for what he called the “final time.” The pause is now set to run through the end of the year, with repayments to restart in January.
The cancellation applies to federal student loans used to attend undergraduate and graduate school, along with Parent Plus loans. Current college students qualify if their loans were issued before July 1. For dependent students, their parents’ household income must be below $250,000.