Biden-Harris Administration Advances Rulemaking to Expand Student Loan Debt Relief for Borrowers

The Biden-Harris Administration made an announcement today regarding the continuation of its efforts to provide relief for borrowers experiencing hardship. This announcement entails holding an additional negotiated rulemaking session on February 22 and 23, which will solely focus on the issue of hardship relief. The Administration aims to deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible, building on its previous approval of over $136.6 billion in targeted relief for more than 3.7 million Americans through various actions.

The upcoming session will concentrate specifically on the topics related to hardship. The regulatory text will be provided at least a week in advance for review by both the negotiators and the public. The sessions will be conducted virtually from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. eastern time, with one hour allocated for public comment from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the first day.

Under Secretary James Kvaal stated, “The Biden-Harris Administration will continue its endeavors to deliver student debt relief for borrowers. We eagerly anticipate discussing another method for providing hardship-related relief at our next negotiation session.”

The Department is also continuing its work on draft rules addressing other issues discussed during the third session. These rules will be published later this year and cover relief for borrowers with balances exceeding their original loans, those who entered repayment a long time ago, individuals eligible for relief but yet to apply, and attendees of programs or institutions that did not provide sufficient financial value. However, these matters will not be the focus of the upcoming session as the Department has already sought consensus on the regulatory text for them.

For updates on the student debt relief negotiated rulemaking process, including transcripts and archived videos of the sessions. Members of the public who wish to watch the sessions or provide public testimony can register to do so through the provided link. Furthermore, when the draft rules are published later this year, the public will have an opportunity to submit written comments.

Continuing efforts to alleviate debt and assist borrowers

Today’s announcement builds upon the ongoing efforts of the Biden-Harris Administration to improve the student loan program and make higher education more affordable. These efforts have resulted in over $136.6 billion in relief being approved for more than 3.7 million borrowers through various actions. The relief includes:

  • $45.7 billion for 930,500 borrowers through administrative adjustments to IDR payment counts, bringing borrowers closer to forgiveness and addressing concerns with forbearance misuse by loan servicers.
  • $56.7 billion for 793,400 borrowers through Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). This includes borrowers who have benefited from the Biden-Harris Administration’s limited PSLF waiver, as well as regulatory improvements made to the program. Prior to the Administration’s fixes, only approximately 7,000 borrowers had received forgiveness.
  • $11.7 billion for almost 513,000 borrowers with total and permanent disabilities.
  • $22.5 billion for over 1.3 million borrowers who were victims of school-related fraud, experienced sudden institution closures, or are covered by court settlements.

The Biden-Harris Administration remains dedicated to making college more affordable and ensuring that student debt does not hinder individuals from pursuing a degree or planning for the future. The Administration launched the SAVE Plan, the most affordable student loan repayment plan to date, and implemented the largest increase to Pell Grants in ten years. Additionally, the Administration aims to double the maximum Pell Grant and provide free community college to enhance college affordability and reduce student debt. The Administration is also holding institutions accountable for unaffordable debts and has recently finalized regulations to establish standards for graduate earnings and debt outcomes for career programs, while improving transparency for all programs to provide students with the necessary information for informed decision-making.

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