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Biden-Harris administration provides automatic loan relief to over 800,000 borrowers

Photo caption: President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris

Last week, the Department of Education began notifying impacted borrowers they were eligible for automatic loan relief

The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today released state-by-state data on the number of borrowers who are eligible for automatic loan relief under fixes to Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans implemented by the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure all borrowers have an accurate count of the number of monthly payments that qualify toward forgiveness. On Friday, the Department started notifying 804,000 borrowers who have a total of $39 billion in Federal student loans that will be automatically discharged in the coming weeks. Today’s data show how many borrowers and the total amount that is eligible for relief in each state and territory as a result of this action. Since the beginning of the Biden-Harris Administration, the Department has approved more than $116 billion in student loan forgiveness for more than 3.4 million borrowers.

The discharges announced on Friday are part of the Department’s commitment to address historical failures in the administration of the Federal student loan program in which qualifying payments made under IDR plans that should have moved borrowers closer to forgiveness were not accurately accounted for. Borrowers are eligible for forgiveness if they have accumulated the equivalent of either 20 or 25 years of qualifying months depending on their loan type and IDR plan. Friday’s action is a result of the Biden-Harris Administration’s implementation of the payment count adjustment announced in April 2022. 

The state-by-state breakdown of relief and eligible borrowers can be found below:

Borrowers Approved for IDR Discharge under the Account Adjustment by Location
State Borrower Count Debt Eligible for Discharge (in millions)
Alabama 12,720 $553.90
Alaska 970 $51.40
Arizona 20,530 $1,030.40
Arkansas 6,940 $342.60
California 61,890 $2,958.80
Colorado 15,010 $805.40
Connecticut 7,230 $309.90
Delaware 2,430 $113.10
District of Columbia 2,230 $130.20
Florida 56,930 $3,036.80
Georgia 38,590 $2,130.40
Hawaii 1,690 $90.20
Idaho 5,720 $252.90
Illinois 28,450 $1,316.00
Indiana 19,470 $932.80
Iowa 10,730 $465.10
Kansas 8,410 $424.50
Kentucky 11,180 $447.70
Louisiana 15,190 $824.70
Maine 4,790 $212.50
Maryland 16,750 $918.30
Massachusetts 12,530 $592.00
Michigan 26,980 $1,267.30
Minnesota 13,610 $645.20
Mississippi 9,480 $450.90
Missouri 18,800 $956.80
Montana 3,700 $185.20
Nebraska 5,700 $268.90
Nevada 6,820 $330.00
New Hampshire 3,090 $143.80
New Jersey 17,290 $788.00
New Mexico 5,410 $260.30
New York 42,070 $1,924.10
North Carolina 24,870 $1,135.10
North Dakota 2,110 $100.60
Ohio 37,070 $1,736.90
Oklahoma 11,530 $548.40
Oregon 11,780 $572.80
Pennsylvania 29,840 $1,343.50
Rhode Island 2,580 $109.70
South Carolina 16,330 $855.20
South Dakota 3,030 $147.40
Tennessee 16,970 $867.90
Texas 63,730 $3,091.80
Utah 3,940 $212.00
Vermont 1,930 $95.80
Virginia 21,560 $1,042.50
Washington 16,310 $777.10
West Virginia 4,950 $196.20
Wisconsin 12,220 $576.10
Wyoming 1,230 $61.50
All Other Locations 8,710 $350.30
TOTAL 803,990 $38,980.90

On Friday, President Biden released the following statement on his Administration’s action to deliver $39 billion in relief to more than 800,000 borrowers: 

“I have long said that college should be a ticket to the middle class – not a burden that weighs down on families for decades.  

My Administration is delivering on that commitment. Starting today, over 800,000 student loan borrowers who have been repaying their loans for 20 years or more will see $39 billion of their loans discharged because of steps my Administration took to fix failures of the past. These borrowers will join the millions of people that my Administration has provided relief to over the past two years – resulting in over $116 billion in loan relief to over 3 million borrowers under my Administration.  

But we’re not stopping there. My Administration has worked hard to secure the largest increases to Pell Grants in a decade, fixed broken loan programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness, and created a new income-driven repayment plan that will cut undergraduate loan payments in half and bring monthly payments to zero for low-income borrowers. And, when the Supreme Court made the wrong decision, I immediately announced a new plan to open an alternative path to relief for as many borrowers as possible, as soon as possible. 

Republican lawmakers – who had no problem with the government forgiving millions of dollars of their own business loans – have tried everything they can to stop me from providing relief to hardworking Americans. Some are even objecting to the actions we announced today, which follows through on relief borrowers were promised, but never given, even when they had been making payments for decades. The hypocrisy is stunning, and the disregard for working and middle-class families is outrageous. 

As long as I’m in office, I will continue to work to bring the promise of college to every American. 

Vice President Harris also issued a statement, available here 

Eligible borrowers were notified by the Department starting last Friday that they qualify for forgiveness without further action on their part. Discharges will begin 30 days after those emails were sent. Borrowers who wish to opt out of the discharge for any reason should contact their loan servicer during this period. Borrowers will be notified by their servicer after their debt is discharged. Those receiving forgiveness will have repayment on those loans paused until their discharge is processed, while those who opt out of the discharge will return to repayment once payments resume. 

“For far too long, borrowers fell through the cracks of a broken system that failed to keep accurate track of their progress towards forgiveness,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona on Friday. “Today, the Biden-Harris Administration is taking another historic step to right these wrongs and announcing $39 billion in debt relief for another 804,000 borrowers. By fixing past administrative failures, we are ensuring everyone gets the forgiveness they deserve, just as we have done for public servants, students who were cheated by their colleges, and borrowers with permanent disabilities, including veterans. This Administration will not stop fighting to level the playing field in higher education.” 

The Department will continue to identify and notify borrowers who reach the applicable forgiveness thresholds (240 or 300 qualifying monthly payments, depending on their repayment plan and type of loan) every two months until next year when all borrowers who are not yet eligible for forgiveness will have their payment counts updated. Any month counted for this purpose can also be counted toward PSLF if the borrower documents qualifying employment for that same period.

The data released today builds on the Biden-Harris Administration’s unparalleled record of student debt relief to date, including: 

  • $45 billion for 653,800 public servants through improvements to PSLF; 
  • $10.5 billion for 491,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability; and 
  • $22 billion for nearly 1.3 million borrowers who were cheated by their schools, saw their schools precipitously close, or are covered by related court settlements. 

President Biden and the Department have also taken steps to help borrowers access affordable payments going forward. The Department recently issued final regulations creating the most affordable payment plan ever—the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) plan. The SAVE plan will cut payments on undergraduate loans in half compared to other IDR plans, ensure that borrowers never see their balance grow as long as they keep up with their required payments, and protect more of a borrower’s income for basic needs. A single borrower who makes less than $15 an hour will not have to make any payments. Borrowers earning above that amount will save more than $1,000 a year on their payments compared to other IDR plans. Benefits from the SAVE plan will start becoming available this summer.

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