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Admin Cancels More Student Loans       05/22 06:02


   WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Biden administration is canceling student loans for 
another 160,000 borrowers through a combination of existing programs.

   The Education Department announced the latest round of cancellation on 
Wednesday, saying it will erase $7.7 billion in federal student loans. With the 
latest action, the administration said it has canceled $167 billion in student 
debt for nearly 5 million Americans through several programs.

   "From day one of my administration, I promised to fight to ensure higher 
education is a ticket to the middle class, not a barrier to opportunity," 
President Joe 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."

   The latest relief will go to borrowers in three categories who hit certain 
milestones that make them eligible for cancellation. It will go to 54,000 
borrowers who are enrolled in Biden's new income-driven repayment plan, along 
with 39,000 enrolled in earlier income-driven plans, and about 67,000 who are 
eligible through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.

   Biden's new payment plan, known as the SAVE Plan, offers a faster path to 
forgiveness than earlier versions. More people are now becoming eligible for 
loan cancellation as they hit 10 years of payments, a new finish line that's a 
decade sooner than what borrowers faced in the past.

   The cancellation is moving forward even as Biden's SAVE Plan faces legal 
challenges from Republican-led states. A group of 11 states led by Kansas sued 
to block the plan in March, followed by seven more led by Missouri in April. In 
two federal lawsuits, the states say Biden needed to go through Congress for 
his overhaul of federal repayment plans.

   A separate action by the Biden administration aimed to correct previous 
mistakes that delayed cancellation for some borrowers enrolled in other 
repayment plans and through Public Service Loan Forgiveness, which forgives 
loans for people who make 10 years of payments while working in public service 

   The Biden administration has been announcing new batches of forgiveness each 
month as more people qualify under those three categories.

   According to the Education Department, 1 in 10 federal student loan 
borrowers has now been approved for some form of loan relief.

   "One out of every 10 federal student loan borrowers approved for debt relief 
means one out of every 10 borrowers now has financial breathing room and a 
burden lifted," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement.

   The Biden administration has continued canceling loans through existing 
avenues while it also pushes for a new, one-time cancellation that would 
provide relief to more than 30 million borrowers in five categories.

   Biden's new plan aims to help borrowers with large sums of unpaid interest, 
those with older loans, those who attended low-value college programs, and 
those who face other hardships preventing them from repaying student loans. It 
would also cancel loans for people who are eligible through other programs but 
haven't applied.

   The proposal is going through a lengthy rulemaking process, but the 
administration said it will accelerate certain provisions, with plans to start 
waiving unpaid interest for millions of borrowers starting this fall.

   Conservative opponents have threatened to challenge that plan too, calling 
it an unfair bonus for wealthy college graduates at the expense of taxpayers 
who didn't attend college or already repaid their loans.

   The Supreme Court rejected Biden's earlier attempt at one-time cancellation, 
saying it overstepped the president's authority. The new plan is being made 
with a different legal justification.

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