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Here’s How Many Billions in Student Loans Biden Has Already Forgiven

President Biden has already overseen the forgiveness of billions of dollars in student debt for well over 1 million borrowers.

SO WHAT

Inflation be damned.

THE NUMBERS

The Biden administration will cancel $5.8 billion in federally-held loans for 560,000 students who attended schools operated by Corinthian Colleges, the Education Department announced June 1.

Corinthian Colleges, once among the largest for-profit education companies in the country, shut down in 2015.

  • The company has faced lawsuits and investigations into alleged fraud and predatory practices.

The Education Department’s announcement brought to $25 billion, for 1.3 million borrowers, the total student debt the Biden administration has committed to forgive.

  • Some $7.9 billion of the relief went to victims of defense and school closures, like Corinthian Colleges.
  • More than $8.5 billion targeted 400,000 borrowers who are recognized as totally and permanently disabled.
  • Another $7.3 billion bailed out 127,000 student loan borrowers who qualify for public service loan forgiveness.

Overall, over 40 million Americans owe $1.7 trillion in federally-held student loans.

THE DEBATE

Biden has expressed support for sweeping forgiveness of up to $10,000 in individual student debt.

  • But prominent Democrats, like Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, have pushed for at least $50,000, along with progressive activists.
  • “President Biden, canceling $10,000 in student debt is like pouring a bucket of ice water on a forest fire. In other words, it won’t do anything, especially for the Black community,” NAACP president Derrick Johnson said in a statement late last month.
  • “The Black community will be watching closely when you make your announcement, but $10,000 is not enough. $10,000 in cancelation would be a slap in the face.”

Conservative analysts, meanwhile, have made three main arguments against proposals to “cancel student debt.”

1. STUDENT BORROWERS TEND TO BE RELATIVELY RICH: “The plan being mulled by the Biden administration to cancel and forgive up to $1.6 trillion of federal student-loan debt is a brazen act of class warfare by the affluent against everyone else,” National Review’s Michael Brendan Dougherty wrote last month.

  • A Brookings Institution study published in January found that “almost a third of all student debt is owed by the wealthiest 20 percent of households and only 8 percent by the bottom 20 percent.”

INFLATION’S BAD ENOUGH ALREADY: “The plan Biden is reportedly considering would eliminate $380 billion of federal student loan debt, and cost taxpayers $250 billion, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget,” National Review’s Philip Klein wrote last week.

  • “Even though that money won’t be directly injected into the economy all at once, it would still affect spending, because it would dramatically increase people’s income expectations.”

IT’S UNFAIR: “Taking out a loan is a choice, and personal responsibility shouldn’t be supplanted by taxpayer bailouts,” conservative columnist Matthew Noyes wrote in an opinion essay for the Foundation for Economic Education last year.

  • “‘Canceling’ student loans means penalizing people like me for honoring my word and repaying the debt I chose to accept.”

WHAT’S NEXT

Biden is still weighing next steps on student loan forgiveness and won’t make an announcement until July or August, the Wall Street Journal reported last week, citing administration officials.

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