According to a press release from the Department of Education, the Joe Biden administration has canceled $15 billion in student loan debt since he took office.
On Wednesday, the department confirmed more than 675,000 borrowers have benefitted from student loan forgiveness. This is far from all of those who have yet to qualify for loan writeoffs through programs such as Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Although Biden has now eliminated more debt in this area than any other president, the Education Data Initiative indicates over 43 million Americans still owe a total of approximately $1.75 trillion, or roughly $40,000 per student loan recipient.
The statement comes as upwards of 80 House and Senate members shared a letter urging Joe Biden to release a memo that confirms his authority to write off student debt, per CNBC. The lawmakers, who include Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren among them, also said the president should forgive $50,000 per student loan recipient. That would come with a price tag of $1 trillion, but it would cancel debt for 36 million additional students.
Last year, Biden announced his administration would extend the pause on student loan debt payments until at least May 2022. “Given these considerations, today my Administration is extending the pause on federal student loan repayments for an additional 90 days—through May 1, 2022—as we manage the ongoing pandemic and further strengthen our economic recovery,” he wrote. “Meanwhile, the Department of Education will continue working with borrowers to ensure they have the support they need to transition smoothly back into repayment and advance economic stability for their own households and for our nation.”
Prior to that pause, the Education Department paused payments four times.