Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) released the following statement on President Biden’s announcement to cancel $10,000 of student debt for people making less than $125,000 a year. Borrowers who received Pell Grants are eligible for up to an additional $10,000 of forgiveness.
President Biden also announced that the pause on federal student loan repayments would be extended for one final time through December 31, 2022. Additionally, President Biden is making the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers by cutting monthly payments in half for undergraduate loans and holding schools accountable when they hike up prices.
“Today, President Biden eased the burden for millions of Americans who are struggling under the weight of their student debt. This will give them the freedom to invest in their future, buy a home, or take a risk and start a business. It’s an important first step forward in helping borrowers saddled with student debt. Moving forward, we must work to lower the skyrocketing costs of college so that future students are able to get an education without signing up for a lifetime of debt.”
Increasing cost without government support
Since 1980, the total cost of both four-year public and four-year private college has nearly tripled, even after accounting for inflation. Federal support has not kept up: Pell Grants once covered nearly 80 percent of the cost of a four-year public college degree for students from working families, but now only cover a third.
President Biden has also previously announced student debt forgiveness or cancellation for 1.3 million students who were cheated or defrauded by shady for-profit colleges. He has worked to improve the troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program by offering a waiver for some students who were mistakenly in the wrong payment plan to receive credit for past payments. Senator Casey has urged for the extension of this waiver until July 2023. So far, more than 175,000 people in the PSLF program have had their loans forgiven by the Biden Administration. Senator Casey also worked with Governor Wolf to provide relief for Pennsylvanians in the PSLF program by no longer requiring them to pay income tax on their loan forgiveness.