President Biden unveils ambitious plan to benefit over 30 million Americans

April 10, 2024 /

President Joe Biden announced his new plans to deliver student debt relief to over 30 million Americans when combined with previous actions under his administration. These plans will both help create more financial stability for millions of working and middle-class families and help address the disproportionate debt burden on communities of color while also advancing racial equity. 

These actions are expected to provide significant relief to Black and Latino borrowers, borrowers who attended community college, and borrowers who are financially vulnerable because they took out debt but never had the chance to complete their degree.

“Not only are Black students more likely to take on student loans than their white peers, but they also end up holding nearly twice as much debt as their white peers four years after graduation.  And Latino borrowers are also more likely to default on their student loans compared to white borrowers,” a fact sheet from the White House stated. 

These plans would fully eliminate accrued interest for 23 million borrowers, cancel the full amount of student debt for over 4 million borrowers, and provide more than 10 million borrowers with at least $5,000 in debt relief or more.

With the plans announced by President Biden on Monday, relief will be delivered to:

  • Borrowers who owe more than they did at the start of repayment.
    • Millions of borrowers across the country owe more than they did when they started repaying because of accrued and capitalized interest. Black and Latino borrowers are likelier to experience growth in their student loan balances due to excessive interest accumulation. Four years after graduation, Black bachelor’s degree borrowers on average owe more than they borrowed.
  • Borrowers who are otherwise eligible for loan forgiveness, but have not yet applied.
    • Borrowers face administrative burdens with completing loan forgiveness applications. Many borrowers would receive automatic debt relief for loan forgiveness programs that they are eligible for but have not successfully applied for, such as the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan, Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or other forgiveness programs.
  • Borrowers who first entered repayment many years ago.
    • Many borrowers are repaying their loans decades after leaving school. The Administration’s new plan would cancel debt for all borrowers with only undergraduate student debt who entered repayment 20 or more years ago and cancel loans for borrowers with any graduate student debt that first entered repayment 25 or more years ago.  
  • Borrowers who enrolled in low-financial-value programs.
    • Those who attended institutions or programs that failed accountability measures or failed to provide students with sufficient financial value would be eligible for relief, including those whose institutions closed prior to the finalization of such determinations.  Black and Latino borrowers make up a disproportionately larger share of students enrolled in these programs.
  • Borrowers experiencing hardship paying back their loans.
    • Millions of borrowers could be eligible for relief if they are experiencing hardship in their daily lives that prevents them from fully paying back their loans now or in the future. Black and Latino borrowers have higher default rates than white borrowers, undermining their ability to build generational wealth, start businesses, buy homes, and more.

Additionally, these plans will address the disproportionate debt burden on borrowers of color and other vulnerable borrowers.

  • Black borrowers
    • In order to afford a college education, Black families—already disadvantaged by generational wealth disparities—rely more heavily on student debt than white families do.
    • Twenty years after first enrolling in school, the typical Black borrower who started college in the 1995-96 school year still owed 95% of their original student debt.
    • After 20 years of starting school, just 26% of Black borrowers were able to pay off all of their loans.
    • A disproportionate number of students at for-profit colleges are Black, and many of these students have attended low-quality programs, leaving them with unaffordable debts and low prospects.
  • Latino Borrowers
    • Latino borrowers have lower household incomes and significantly less wealth than their white counterparts, causing them greater difficulty in paying off loans.
    • Latino students are also more likely not to complete college, making them more likely to have debt with no degree.
    • Latino borrowers are also more likely to default on their student loans compared to white borrowers, with 15% of those in repayment in default and 29% in serious delinquency.
    • Latino students are also a disproportionate number of students enrolled in for-profit programs.
  • Community college borrowers
    • Under the Biden-Harris Administration’s SAVE Plan, 85% of community college borrowers are projected to be debt-free within 10 years.
    • Latino students make up a disproportionately larger share of community college students, making up 23% of community college enrollees but only 18% of the overall undergraduate population.
    • The share of community college students who are Latino and Black students is also increasing, with 2023 community college enrollment increasing by 2.1% for Black students, 5.5% for Hispanic students, and decreasing by 2.0% for white students.

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Victoria Rodgers

Victoria Rodgers is an editor and reporter for Kern Sol News. Born in Bakersfield, CA, she received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Rockford University in Illinois. She can be reached at