Biden’s new plan for student-loan forgiveness is entering its next key stage — and millions of borrowers will have a say on what the relief looks like

Biden’s new plan for student-loan forgiveness is entering its next key stage — and millions of borrowers will have a say on what the relief looks like
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President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden.

  • Biden released the draft text for his new student-loan forgiveness plan.
  • Borrowers will have a 30-day public comment period to provide feedback on the proposals.
  • The Education Department aims to begin implementing the relief as early as this fall.

Millions of student-loan borrowers are moving closer to President Joe Biden’s new plan for debt cancellation.

On Tuesday, the Education Department released its first set of draft rules for Biden’s second attempt at student-debt relief after the Supreme Court struck the first plan down.

The regulatory text comes after Biden unveiled details of the plan last week, which included up to $20,000 in debt relief for borrowers with unpaid interest and relief for those who have made at least 20 years of payments. According to the department, this draft “includes nine rules that permit separate and distinct types of waivers using the Secretary of Education’s longstanding authority under the Higher Education Act.”

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Eight of the rules apply to student loans held by the Education Department, while the ninth applies to borrowers with commercially held loans in the Federal Family Education Loan program. Combined with Biden’s other relief efforts, his new proposals are expected to benefit over 30 million borrowers.

“Today’s announcement shows that the Biden-Harris Administration is continuing to fulfill our promises to fix a broken higher education system,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “Student loan forgiveness isn’t only about relief for today’s borrowers. It’s about social mobility, economic prosperity, and creating America that lives up to its highest ideals.”

The regulatory text will be formally published to the Federal Register on Wednesday, after which the public will have a 30-day period to submit comments on the department’s proposals. The department “will carefully consider comments received and aims to finalize these rules in time to start delivering relief this fall, including for borrowers who have been subject to runaway interest,” the press release said.

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Additionally, a department spokesperson told Business Insider that the department is “vigorously” working to develop a separate rule that would deliver relief to borrowers experiencing financial hardship, expected to be released in the coming months.

The majority of the relief proposed would be conducted automatically, per the department. Additionally, while some of the rules are intended to be one-time relief — like for borrowers who have entered repayment at least 20 years ago — the department is proposing a rule for ongoing relief for borrowers who took on debt to attend schools that did not pay off financially post-graduation.

The regulatory text mirrors the proposals the department developed with negotiators over the past few months, but it could change based on the feedback the department receives during the public comment period.

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For now, the department said it aims to begin providing the relief this fall — even as legal threats from conservative groups brew to halt its implementation.

“These distinct forms of debt relief are designed for borrowers struggling with their loans – and that’s a lot of people,” Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal said in a statement. “There are 25 million borrowers whose interest is growing faster than they can pay it down. That fact alone shows how badly President Biden’s student loan relief is needed.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

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