Biden taking ‘hard look’ at student loan forgiveness

  • Comments
  • Print

President Joe Biden said Thursday that he’s “taking a hard look” at canceling additional federal student loan debt and will reach a decision within a month.

“I am considering dealing with some debt reduction,” Biden told reporters in the Roosevelt Room at the White House.

The comments came days after Biden had a private meeting with Democratic lawmakers who pressed him on the issue. One of the lawmakers, Rep. Tony Cardenas, D-Calif., said afterwards that Biden disclosed he was exploring the possibility.

However, Biden signaled in his Thursday remarks that he wouldn’t go as far as some activists want, saying $50,000 in debt forgiveness was not under consideration. He did not give a number for what he was considering.

“I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether or not there will be additional debt forgiveness,” he said. “And I’ll have an answer on that in the next couple of weeks.”

During his campaign, Biden said he wanted to “immediately cancel” at least $10,000 in student debt per person. So far he’s repeatedly extended a pause on requiring borrowers to repay their loans, a moratorium that was put in place under then-President Donald Trump near the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although activists have been encouraged by their increasing traction on this issue, some said they were concerned that Biden wouldn’t go far enough.

“President Biden, we agree that we shouldn’t cancel $50,000 in student loan debt. We should cancel all of it,” said Wisdom Cole, national director of the NAACP Youth & College Division. “$50,000 was just the bottom line.”

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Thursday that Biden was still considering whether to tie debt relief to borrowers’ income levels, an idea he’s floated in the past. She said it’s “certainly something he would be looking at.”

She rejected criticism from Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and others that debt relief amounts to a political giveaway.

Biden’s goal, Psaki said, is to “continue to provide relief to people who need it most, to help people get some extra breathing room.”

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

14 thoughts on “Biden taking ‘hard look’ at student loan forgiveness

    1. Tax breaks are stimulus but cancelling student debt a terrible idea/handout. Weird how that works.

  1. If you are cancelling student debt (a proactive individual choice) then all families regardless of income level should get the exact same in direct tax deduction regardless of income level. This punishes those who paid in full for their college and those who didn’t go to college at all.

    Congress and the POTUS know someone has to pay for all this forgiven debt and the 47% who actually pay net effective taxes are tired of being on the hook for progressive “free money”.

  2. Quote from J C B: Congress and the POTUS know someone has to pay for all this forgiven debt and the 47% who actually pay net effective taxes are tired of being on the hook for progressive “free money”.

    Are you sure they know that much, J C B? I mean, the printing presses are still running, aren’t they?

  3. Why not consider, at a minimum, to reduce the interest rates that are attached to these loans? During very good banking times, the rates on these loans were considerably higher than for other borrowing. Students/graduates could at least potentially reduce the payback time by lowering these rates.

  4. If he DOESN’T forgive a meaningful amount (undetermined) this could crash the economy. So many people have loans and decided to buy HOUSES they can’t afford. You can bet 95% haven’t saved a dime during the moratorium.

    1. Another example of: “not those who live within their means problem.”

      I lived through 2008 and lost 50% value on two homes. (First home in 2001 out of college and second I was working to build)

      I signed the contracts, it took 11 years to get back in the black. Didn’t walk from the properties, didn’t short sell, didn’t file bankruptcy or any other make an excuse tactic.

      These college kids made a choice. On a school loan, on maybe a home purchase above their means. They need to learn their lesson.

      The “it will crash the economy” scare tactics are like the boy who cries wolf.

  5. If we want to correct the student debt problem going forward, require the educational institutions (colleges, universities) to co-sign the loans. If the student later defaults, the educational institution will be on the hook for the repayment. Watch how much more selective the educational institutions get on keeping failing students in school [racking up more debt], tolerating 5 and 6 years to complete a 4 year degree, as well as which educational majors they offer [gone will be the ones that they know cannot have a hope in hell of repaying the tremendous debt incurred in getting those degrees].

  6. Eliminate the interest, but don’t forgive the loans. Why should tax payers pay for others education and poor financial choices? As others have mentioned, those that took loans out and paid them back in good faith shouldn’t be on the hook for those that didn’t. I’m behind waiving the ridiculous interest on them, but the principal needs to be repaid.

    No clue why they aren’t being required to make payments now. Plenty of jobs, just prolonging the debt.

  7. They need to focus on solving the problem, not the symptom. Student loan debt is a symptom of the cost of higher education. There needs to be [good, viable] a way for people to obtain degrees without the need to go into unsustainable debt.

    There are too many issues tied with how student loan debt is currently attained to be able to justify paying it off. Do you pay off the debt of those that took out loans but didn’t complete a degree? Do you pay off loans from people who chose to go to a school that cost $100,000 a year, when they could have avoided debt going to a $20,000 school? Or, one of the main issues – do you penalize the person that does work study, takes out extra jobs, and works hard to avoid the debt even though taking out the loans would have been easier for them?

    There are too many issues around the existing debt/payments that have occurred. Until the actual problem – the cost – is fixed, the idea of paying off loans makes no sense beyond pandering/paying for votes. Fix the problem, then address the remaining symptoms.