Another 125,000 people will have their student loans forgiven, the Biden administration announced Wednesday, just days after payments resumed following a more than three-year pause due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Most of this tranche of debt relief—$5.2 billion—is related to the department’s fixes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which became permanent in July, according to a news release. Another $2.8 billion in relief is going to individuals who have been in repayment for 20 or more years but haven’t received relief through income-driven repayment plans. The administration also is discharging $1.2 billion in loans for borrowers who have a total or permanent disability.
“For years, millions of eligible borrowers were unable to access the student debt relief they qualified for, but that’s all changed thanks to President Biden and this Administration’s relentless efforts to fix the broken student loan system,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a news release.
In all, after Wednesday’s announcement, the Biden administration has forgiven $127 billion in student loans for nearly 3.6 million Americans, according to the release.
“This kind of relief is life-changing for individuals and their families,” Biden said in remarks at the White House Wednesday following the public announcement. “But it’s good for our economy as a whole as well. By freeing millions of Americans from the crushing burden of student debt, it means they can go and get their lives in order.”
Republicans in Congress criticized the administration’s latest round of relief as illegal, echoing previous statements in response to similar debt discharges.
Representative Virginia Foxx of North Carolina, the top Republican on the House Education and Workforce Committee, said in a statement that taxpayers deserve better.
“The Department of Education acts as if hardworking taxpayers are both willing and able to foot a tab worth billions of dollars that they do not owe,” Foxx said. “Either the Department is blissfully ignorant of its own binding legal constraints, or it is purposefully evading Congress’ approval and pushing forward with its own illegal charade—the latter is the obvious answer.”