Education Department expedites relief for select student loan borrowers on income-based repayment plan

Starting as early as next month, some student loan borrowers will receive immediate relief, according to an announcement from the Education Department on Friday.

The agency is expediting the timeline for providing forgiveness to borrowers who are enrolled in President Joe Biden’s new income-driven repayment plan, known as Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE). Beginning in February, borrowers enrolled in SAVE will have their debts canceled immediately if they initially borrowed $12,000 or less in undergraduate or graduate student loans and have been making repayments for at least 10 years.

Previously, the relief was set to take effect in July according to federal register document.

“I am proud that my administration is implementing one of the most impactful provisions of the SAVE plan nearly six months ahead of schedule,” said President Biden in a statement.

The Education Department’s decision, which is being promoted as their 25th executive action on student loan relief, is the latest sign of the Biden administration’s focus on addressing the student loan debt crisis in the country. Despite facing legal and political challenges, Biden has made this issue a key component of his reelection campaign.

According to the department, the program, which reduces student loan payments to $0 for millions of borrowers, has already enrolled nearly 7 million borrowers. Since its launch in August, it has faced criticism from congressional Republicans, with some referring to it as a “free college scheme.”

In an effort to reach as many eligible borrowers as possible, the department is launching an outreach campaign to encourage more borrowers to enroll in the plan. The agency strongly urges anyone who borrowed $12,000 or less in student loans to sign up for SAVE as soon as possible.

Read more: Who will benefit and who will not under Biden’s SAVE student loan repayment plan based on income?

“These measures will help more borrowers receive the student debt relief they need and deserve,” stated White House Domestic Policy Adviser Neera Tanden during a press briefing on Thursday.

The Education Department did not provide specific details on how many of the approximately 7 million borrowers already enrolled in SAVE would be eligible for immediate relief. Officials suggest that community college graduates may be among the biggest beneficiaries. The agency predicts that nearly 90% of future community college borrowers who enroll in the SAVE plan will be free from debt after 10 years.

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