After more than a year of debates, protests, meetings and deliberations, President Biden is fulfilling a campaign promise to cancel some of the federal student debt held by millions of Americans.
The White House estimates roughly 43 million federal student loan borrowers are eligible for forgiveness, and about 20 million could have their debt completely wiped out, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on Aug. 24. The policy will deliver the single largest discharge of education debt on record.
“This is going to change the lives of a lot of people,” said Mark Huelsman, director of policy and advocacy director of the Hope Center, a higher education think tank. “When we’re talking about full cancellation for 20 million people, this is unprecedented.”
Still, the announcement disappointed some activists who had fought for a more generous policy. And it angered other Democrats and conservatives who say it is fiscally irresponsible and unfair to people who never borrowed, as well as those who have already repaid their student loans.
Here is what you need to know about the cancellation plan.