What Happened to Student Loan Forgiveness
At the start of all new administrations, Americans have high hopes and dreams. For newly minted veterinarians, perhaps the biggest hope was Biden would cancel out their student loans. Not surprising considering that the average veterinarian is graduating with over $183,300 of debt. After months of uncertainty, one thing is becoming clear, student loan cancelation is probably not going to happen.
As reported elsewhere, the Education Department is actively developing plans for how it will restart federal student loan payments in February 2022. These plans reportedly include an education campaign, an initial grace period for missed payments and making it easier for borrowers to remain enrolled in income-based repayment programs. The one thing not being considered, is an additional extension of the “payment pause”. Chances of a wholesale student loan forgiveness isn’t looking more promising. The administration’s goal seems simple: avoid a surge in delinquencies when payments resume.
Student loans and the President
What happened? Well, a few things. Although some legal experts believe that the President can use his existing authority to wipe out student debt, others disagree. In fact, Biden himself has cast doubt on the President’s authority to do this. To provide clarity, the education and justice department attorneys were asked to provide guidance as to whether the executive branch has the authority to forgive loans. Six-months later, neither has rendered an opinion. Without this guidance, relief is unlikely to come from the President.
Action from congress on student loans?
If you were hoping for action from congress, think again. Even as you read this, the modest proposal of free community college is being stripped from the latest infrastructure package. In the end, it just wasn’t a priority for progressives. They are focusing on expanding government-run health care programs and the environment. Don’t look across the political aisle for help. Republicans are unlikely to support any plan that results in wholesale student loan forgiveness.
Student loan inactivity shouldn’t be a surprise. As we reported earlier, forgiving student loans was the Bernie plan, not the Biden plan. Biden never made fixing graduate debt a centerpiece of his administration. He was more focused on community colleges educating tomorrow’s workforce. Now it seems even his modest education proposal seem in Jeopardy. We can always hope for next year… In the meantime, we can continue to educate ourselves.