Statement From BBT Executive Director Danielle Melfi on Student Loan Announcement From President Biden

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President Biden is fighting to ensure all students can pursue opportunity without the burden of crushing debt

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following President Biden’s announcement today that his administration will erase $10,000 in student loan debt for those making less than $125,000 a year, up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, as well as extend the existing payment pause on federal student loans through December 31, Building Back Together Executive Director Danielle Melfi released the following statement:

“Today’s announcement means $10,000 in student loan debt relief for those making less than $125,000 a year — up to $20,000 in relief for Pell Grant recipients — and underscores President Biden’s continued commitment to millions of Americans who carry the burden of student loan debt. On day one of his presidency, he paused all federal student loan repayments to allow millions of Americans to breathe easier during the toughest days of the pandemic. Today’s announcement means that 45% of federal student loan borrowers will be eligible to have their debt completely eliminated. This is huge for so many families, and builds on President Biden’s previous actions to reduce or erase student debt for more than 1.6 million borrowers — including more than 690,000 victims of fraud — totaling $32 billion in relieved debt.

“This executive action will especially benefit low-income students and students of color, who overwhelmingly bear the brunt of the student loan debt crisis. Nearly 90% of the benefits of the actions announced today will go to borrowers with incomes under $75,000. President Biden’s action today will provide relief for millions of middle class Americans who will now have some much-needed breathing room in their budgets — because student debt should not be a barrier to achieving the American dream.”

Today’s announcement builds on previous actions by the Biden-Harris Administration to address the student loan debt crisis:

  • On his first day in office, President Biden paused student loan repayment, ensuring no one was forced to make payments on their loans during the hardest days of the pandemic.
    • Collectively, student loan borrowers in the U.S. have saved roughly $5 billion a month in interest payments so far thanks to President Biden.
    • Recognizing the ongoing impact of the pandemic on Americans and our economy, President Biden extended this pause in May to provide further respite to borrowers.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration has reduced student debt by nearly $32 billion for over 1.6 million borrowers.
    • In April, President Biden announced that 100,000 borrowers working in nonprofit and government jobs would have their debt erased through the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program after 10 years of service.
  • As part of broader debt relief efforts, the Biden-Harris Administration has erased more than $7.9 billion in debt for more than 690,000 borrowers defrauded by for-profit colleges.
    • In June, the administration canceled $5.8 billion in student loan debt for 560,000 borrowers who were defrauded by Corinthian Colleges – the largest one-time debt cancellation ever by the Department of Education.
    • Earlier this month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it would erase $3.9 billion in student loan debt for 208,000 students defrauded by ITT Technical Institute.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration also made changes to repayment plans to make borrowers under certain plans eligible for loan relief after 20 to 25 years – an action that benefits an estimated 40,000 Americans.