Student Debt
November 2, 2022
Will Biden’s forgiveness plan bring relief?

President Biden announced a major federal student loan forgiveness program in August that could erase loans for about 20 million Americans, substantially cut debt for millions more and favorably change repayment and forgiveness terms for future borrowers. The plan — estimated to cost $400 billion or more over the next decade — drew legal challenges from opponents who say Biden lacks such authority, creating uncertainty for borrowers and loan servicers. Meanwhile, the pandemic pause on loan payments expires at the end of 2022; starting in January, borrowers will need to resume monthly payments. At the local level, more states are greenlighting tuition-free colleges and aid to help combat rising education costs.

Photo of President Biden and Miguel Cardona speaking in Washington, DC, on October 17, 2022. President Biden speaks about his new student loan forgiveness plan on Oct. 17 alongside U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. The plan, which could erase loans for about 20 million borrowers, is already facing mounting legal challenges in federal court. (Getty Images/Alex Wong)

President Biden announced a sweeping student loan forgiveness initiative in August, promising to erase loans of up to $20,000 for an estimated 20 million borrowers, along with other relief measures that could significantly cut loan payments for millions of existing and new borrowers. 1

However, the plan — which Biden implemented through executive action — is facing legal obstacles from Republican lawmakers, conservative advocacy groups and others, who are challenging Biden’s right to unilaterally make such broad and costly moves.