By Nathalie Voit
To the dismay of some of his Democratic colleagues, President Joe Biden said on April 28 that he is not considering forgiving $50,000 per borrower in federal student loans.
“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction. I am not considering $50,000 debt reduction,” Biden said in remarks at the White House on Thursday. “But I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there are going to — there will be additional debt forgiveness, and I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”
The president has been under pressure from members of the progressive left and some moderates to deliver on his campaign promise of broad student loan relief. However, Biden recently signaled during a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus that he is more willing to consider forgiving $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower rather than the $50,000 many of his advocates initially believed he would support.
The administration has already provided other forms of debt relief, including canceling over $2 billion in debt for over 107,000 borrowers who attended for-profit universities. The White House recently extended a pause on federal student loan repayments through August.
Nonetheless, the president has yet to give a definitive answer on forgiving $10,000 per borrower.
“He’s not delivering on his promise,” said Jennifer Lewis, a 57-year-old nurse practitioner in Washington with about $80,000 in student loan debt.
Overall, Biden has canceled more than $17 billion in student loans since taking office, offering significant relief to more than 700,000 borrowers. However, many of his supporters do not think this is enough.
“If he were to run again, I would think twice about voting for president at all,” Lewis said, according to CNN.
Forgiving $10,000 per borrower would clear $321 billion in federal student loans. The move would also eliminate outstanding debt for about 12 million borrowers, or 31.1% of the indebted. The average borrower would receive $8,478 in student loan forgiveness under the policy, according to research from Liberty Street Economics.
Nonetheless, about 70% of student loan borrowers would still be left with debt.
“For the Black community, who’ve accumulated debt over generations of oppression, anything less is unacceptable,” said the national director of the NAACP Youth & College Division Wisdom Cole in a tweet.