Biden Touts Latest Debt Relief Plan

Katherine Knott from Inside Higher Ed reports.  With events in three states, Biden and other officials detailed the latest plans to provide debt relief—doubling down on loan forgiveness as a key campaign issue.

Before President Biden stepped up to the podium at Madison Area Technical College in Wisconsin, his message was clearly forecasted on a number of screens around the stage: “Canceling Student Debt.”

“I will never stop to deliver student debt relief to hardworking Americans, and it’s only in the interest of America that we do it,” Biden said.

Monday’s announcement offered few new details about the administration’s plan to provide debt relief, which has been in the works since last summer. Under the plan, borrowers who fall into one or more of five categories would see either partial or full cancellation. The groups include people who owe more than they initially borrowed as a result of accrued interest and those who have been repaying loans for more than 20 years.

Fixing the country’s student debt crisis is part of his broader economic agenda, Biden said, noting that the ballooning debt is a drag on local economies. In addition to the debt-relief plan, Biden also highlighted efforts to expand career and technical education, make community college free and invest in American manufacturing.

While Biden spoke in Wisconsin, Vice President Harris touted the plan in Philadelphia and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff was dispatched to Arizona. Meanwhile, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona participated in a roundtable discussion with student loan borrowers in New York City.

The promotional tour is the latest signal that the Biden administration sees debt relief as key to mobilizing young voters and winning a second term in the White House. In a recent survey, nearly 70 percent of Generation Z respondents said the government should take some action to cancel student loans. Still, like so many issues, debt relief has become polarizing. Biden’s previous effort to provide broad-based student loan forgiveness infuriated Republican lawmakers, who said his administration was exceeding its constitutional authority.