October 16, 2021

Is loan forgiveness in the future.

Anthony Tilghman
Anthony Tilghman, is an 2x Award-winning photographer, Education advocate, Mentor, and Published Author with years of experience in media, photography, marketing and branding. He is the Winner of the 2020 & 2021 Dateline award for Excellence in Local Journalism.
Photo By:Photo Attributed

Loan forgiveness—it felt promised. Especially when President Joe Biden issued his support for $10,000 of undergraduate or graduate student debt relief on his campaign, for the over 40 million Americans with a collective student loan debt of over $1.7 trillion, the prospect would provide a reprieve. The debt relief was meant to run national or community service every year, up to five years and $50,000.

In Biden’s first 100 days in office, Democrats in the House, and Senate pressured Biden to “broadly” forgive up to $50,000 of federal debt through the executive order.

And more than 100 days in office, President Joe Biden has repeatedly pushed back against his fellow Democrats, maintaining his stance that he will only support up to $10,000 of debt forgiveness. He has repeatedly made it clear that he prefers Congress to craft the legislation.

Though loan forgiveness made a buzz earlier this year, things have quietened down.  It isn’t to say that the Biden administration has been inactive in the quiet matters concerning student loan debt relief.

Since the Biden Administration has taken office, it has approved over $9.5 billion of student loan relief, mostly extending to borrowers with a total and permanent disability.

Further still, the Department of Education has announced $5.8 Billion in automatic student loan forgiveness for borrowers with disabilities. Late August, the department announced that borrowers with a total and permanent disability would automatically receive federal student loan discharge due to new regulations for total and permanent disability (TPD) discharge.

Borrowers that qualify for the TPD discharge will no longer have to apply for the discharge –the program will use automatic data matching through the Social Security Administration (SSA). Additionally, the department has also indefinitely extended the pause on the income verification requirements—meaning borrowers that qualify for the TPD discharge will not have to submit documentation verifying their income to prove eligibility.

Over 47,000 service members- deployed to areas that qualify them for imminent danger or hostile fire – have federal student loan interest waived.  And because of the new automatic data matching, these service members will no longer have to apply for the interest waiver.

And the further good news is that the Biden administration has extended a break on student loan payments. In late August, the Department of Education announced an extension on loan payments and interest pause to January 31, 2022. This, however, will be the last extension of the payment pause, but it will give borrowers a chance to readjust and transition back into payments.

Additionally, the Department of Education has forgiven billions of dollars for defrauded borrowers. It has been rolling out thousands of approvals for borrower defense to repayment, and their colleges have misled a program that forgives student loan debt for borrowers. The department is working to unclog a buildup left by the Trump administration where borrowers received a partial waiver.

Unfortunately, though something is being done to address student loan debt, the Biden administration has excluded mass student loan forgiveness. In April, Biden asked his Education Department to conduct a legal review on his authority to cancel student debt—the results of which have yet to be released. As so, it is unlikely that broad student loan forgiveness is unlikely to come through an executive order but perhaps through legislation through Congress.

In the meantime, Biden has referenced that it will improve existing forgiveness programs like income-driven repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The Education Department announced Wednesday that it would lift some rules for Public Service Loan Forgiveness while it works on permanent improvements through a rulemaking process. The action will immediately make 22,000 workers eligible for loan cancellation, estimated at $1.7 billion, and it will push more than 500,000 closer to debt relief.

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