Biden Unwilling to Forgive $50,000 of Student Debt

Terrence Allen, Staff Writer

Biden’s stance on the student loan forgiveness issue
In the early days of Joe Biden’s presidency, student loan forgiveness is one of the hot topics that has been brought up on numerous occasions. The world being in a pandemic and money being more scarce than it has been in recent history are possible reasons for the increased conversation around student loan forgiveness.

At a CNN town hall meeting on Feb. 16, an audience member asked Biden what he intended to do to forgive $50,000 of student debt.

“I will not make that happen,” said Biden. “I am prepared to write off the $10,000 debt but not $50,000, because I don’t think I have the authority to do it.”

Biden’s plan for student loan cancellation is for Congress to cancel $10,000 immediately. This has been his plan from the beginning of his presidency. The number of $50,000 comes from Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren advocating that the president forgive $50,000 instead of $10,000. Despite going against the wishes of people in his party, Biden has stuck with the proposal of $10,000.

On Feb. 19, 17 state attorney generals called on Biden to forgive $50,000 of student loan debt. These attorney generals and Sens. Schumer and Warren believe he indeed does have the authority to forgive $50,000 due to the Higher Education Act.

The section that they believe gives Biden the power to do so is Section 432(a) of the Higher Education Act, which grants the U.S. Secretary of Education the authority “to modify, compromise, waive, or release any right, title, claim, lien, or demand, however acquired, including any equity or any right of redemption.”

Based on Biden’s comments at the town hall, it is unlikely that he will raise his proposal to $50,000. Biden has other proposals to help ease the burden of student debt as well.
Biden has proposed free tuition for community colleges and public universities and colleges. For community colleges, the federal government would cover 75 percent of the costs and the states would cover the rest. For the universities and public colleges, families with incomes under $125,000 would receive free tuition. These are only proposals and it is unclear how close Biden is to getting these actions passed.

He has also proposed new income based repayment plans which would allow the borrower to only pay five percent of their income for a monthly payment.
With Biden and other Democratic representatives being on different sides of the student loan forgiveness issue, time will tell what happens to the future of post graduate borrowers.