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Sunday, September 26, 2021

$10 Billion in Student Debt Erased Under Biden, but Calls Grow for More


Finally, on Tuesday, she received an email informing her that she had been discharged completely.

“I cried,” Ms. King said, adding that she now hopes to be able to afford computer classes at her local community college.

Mr. Gokey said the department appeared to have notified thousands of people about their loan relief on Tuesday. However, there is still some confusion: several people received notifications that contained incorrect information. One ITT borrower, for example, received a letter stating that his loans for studying at the Marinello School of Beauty would be cancelled.

The push for widespread debt cancellation has overshadowed calls to address these and other obvious administrative issues, advocates say, ideally before January, when borrowers will begin receiving bills again.

“The next few weeks and months will be extremely important,” Mr. Frotman predicted.

He and others said the Biden administration should prioritise long-standing issues with the Public Service Loan Forgiveness programme, which is intended to wipe out debts of people who work in government or nonprofit jobs for a decade while making loan payments. Millions of people may be eligible — the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimates that one in every four American workers is in a qualifying job — but a variety of issues have resulted in a 98 percent denial rate for the programme.

And a new disaster is on the horizon: FedLoan, the servicer in charge of guiding borrowers through it, recently announced that it would end its contract with the Education Department. Its nine million customers will have to be transferred to other service providers, a process fraught with errors in the past.

Ms. Leon, a spokeswoman for the Education Department, said the agency planned to begin broad rule-making negotiations “in the coming months” to address regulatory issues for the public-service programme and others, but she did not provide any details.

Advocates hope that the Biden administration will assist borrowers like Niki Woodard, who has a master’s degree in communications from Georgetown University and has worked in nonprofit jobs – often low-paying ones – for more than a decade. Ms. Woodard made her payments on time for ten years before applying for relief on her remaining loan balance, which is now nearly $60,000.

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