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US: Joe Biden rescinds $7.4 billion of student debt

April 12, 2024

Eradicating student debt has been a cornerstone of White House policy, with the Biden administration keen to attract young voters ahead of the US presidential election in November.

US President Joe Biden in Madison College
The president is on an election charge, with the ballot just months awayImage: Evan Vucci/AP Photo/picture alliance

The Biden administration will cancel $7.4 billion (€6.9 billion) in student debt for 277,000 borrowers, the White House said on Friday.

It is the latest in a series of debt cancellations, which US President Joe Biden has been keen to highlight with the November presidential election getting ever nearer.

The Biden administration has been making fresh declarations on debt relief on a regular basis in recent months, as the president attempts to woo young voters.

"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," Biden said in a statement. 

Friday's announcement was sent as an email directly to the borrowers concerned.

Earlier this week, Biden announced a fresh round of debt relief proposals that could come into effect this fall before the election where the 81-year-old is set to go up against familiar foe Donald Trump.

According to a White House statement, the latest proposal involves 277,000 Americans who are a part of the scheme called SAVE Plan, as well as other borrowers enrolled in Income-Driven Repayment plans, and those receiving Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

This comes after last month declaring that $6 billion worth of student debt would be wiped out for 78,000 borrowers.

Last year, Biden vowed to find other avenues for tackling debt relief after the Supreme Court in blocked his wider proposal to wipe out $430 billion worth of debt in student loans.

Criticism from Republicans 

Two groups of Republican-led states, fronted by Kansas and Missouri, recently filed federal lawsuits arguing that the Biden administration overstepped its authority in creating the repayment option.

The campaign of former President Trump has criticized the Biden moves, arguing the cancellations of debt have been conducted "without a single act of Congress." Republicans have called Biden's debt relief policy an overreach of authority and an unfair benefit to college-educated borrowers while others didn't attract such relief.

"I will never stop working to cancel student debt ... no matter how many times Republican elected officials try to stop us," Biden said in a statement. 

US voters concerned over Biden's age ahead of elections

jsi/wmr (AP, Reuters)