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Biden cancels $7.7 billion more in student debt for 160,000 borrowers

Published 05/22/2024, 05:06 AM
Updated 05/23/2024, 04:40 AM
© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden looks on as he deliver remarks at the Westwood Park YMCA in Nashua, New Hampshire, U.S. May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the cancellation of another $7.7 billion in student debt for 160,000 borrowers, bringing the total number of people to benefit from his debt relief push to 4.75 million, despite Republican opposition.

Biden, keen to shore up waning support among young people ahead of the November presidential election, had pledged last year to find other avenues for tackling debt relief after the Supreme Court in June blocked his broader plan to cancel $430 billion in student loan debt.

Biden said beneficiaries of the newest measures are people enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, who had received an average of over $35,000 in debt cancellation.

They include teachers, nurses, law enforcement officials and other public service workers, or borrowers who were approved for relief through other changes, the White House said.

"Today’s announcement comes on top of the significant progress we’ve made for students and borrowers over the past three years," Biden said in a statement. "I will never stop working to cancel student debt – no matter how many times Republican elected officials try to stop us."

Wednesday's announcement brings total debt relief approved by the Biden administration to $167 billion.

The issue remains high on the agenda of younger voters, many of whom have concerns about Biden's foreign policy on the war in Gaza and fault him for not achieving greater debt forgiveness.

The campaign of former President Donald Trump, Biden's Republican challenger in the White House race, in March criticized the student loan cancellation as a bailout that was done "without a single act of Congress."

© Reuters. U.S. President Joe Biden looks on as he deliver remarks at the Westwood Park YMCA in Nashua, New Hampshire, U.S. May 21, 2024. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Republicans have called Biden's student loan forgiveness approach an overreach of his authority and an unfair benefit to college-educated borrowers while other borrowers received no such relief.

As of the end of 2023, 43.2 million U.S. student loan recipients had over $1.6 trillion in outstanding loans, according to the website of the Federal Student Aid website, an office of the U.S. Department of Education. Higher education debt has tripled since the 2008 financial crisis.

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