The Biden administration has approved $14.5 billion in student loan forgiveness for borrowers who’ve been harmed or defrauded by their schools, according to a top official.
“Thanks to our fight against predatory for-profit institutions, $14.5 billion in debt relief have been approved for borrowers across the nation,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a tweet last week, sharing a screenshot from a borrower who had their student loans discharged. “We’re not finished; we won’t stop fighting for you.”
Here’s who will benefit from the relief.
Student Loan Forgiveness Through Borrower Defense to Repayment
The $14.5 billion in relief that Secretary Cardona was referring to is being provided through the Borrower Defense to Repayment program. The Borrower Defense program can cancel the federal student loan debt in cases where a school made false promises or misrepresentations about key aspects of a degree or certificate program to induce a student to enroll or remain enrolled at the institution. These misrepresentations may pertain to admissions selectivity, the transferability of credits to other schools, or the career or earnings prospects of graduates.
Around 1.1 million borrowers are expected to receive Borrower Defense relief, according to the Education Department. This includes the following borrowers:
- Borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges, a national chain of for-profit schools that collapsed under widespread allegations of misconduct. Former students may be eligible regardless of whether or not they submitted a formal Borrower Defense application.
- Borrowers who were previously approved for Borrower Defense relief but received only partial discharges under a Trump administration-era policy. The Biden administration reversed that policy to allow borrowers with approved Borrower Defense claims to receive a full discharge of their applicable federal student loans.
The Education Department has already started notifying eligible borrowers of their approval for student loan forgiveness. Discharges of applicable federal student loan debt will be processed on a rolling basis during the course of the next year.
Other Student Loan Forgiveness Approvals under the Biden Administration
The $14.5 billion in approved relief through Borrower Defense is just a fraction of the nearly $50 billion in student loan forgiveness the Biden administration has approved in total, according to an earlier Education Department statement. This relief includes:
- Discharges for 200,000 other borrowers through Borrower Defense to Repayment in a settlement to resolve Sweet v. Cardona, a class action lawsuit filed over a dispute regarding delayed application processing.
- $1.26 billion in student loan relief for borrowers who attended ITT Technical Institutes between January 1, 2005 and September 2016, when the national chain closed amidst multiple investigations into its recruitment and marketing practices.
- $9.1 billion in student loan forgiveness for 425,000 borrowers under the Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) discharge program.
- $24 billion in loan student loan forgiveness for 360,000 borrowers through temporary waivers for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. The Education Department and its contracted PSLF servicer, MOHELA, are still processing PSLF Waiver applications.
More Student Loan Forgiveness May be Coming
The Education Department is only just starting to roll out the IDR Account Adjustment, a new initiative that can result in significant retroactive credit for borrowers seeking student loan forgiveness under Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans and the PSLF program. Implementation is expected to be completed by July 2023.
And next year, the Supreme Court is set to decide the fate of Biden’s one-time student loan cancellation program, which was expected to result in hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan forgiveness for the vast majority of federal student loan borrowers before federal courts blocked the program in response to legal challenges.
Further Student Loan Forgiveness Reading
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The Student Loan Pause Is Actually Leading To Loan Forgiveness — Are Further Extensions Coming?
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