x
Breaking News
More () »

Yes, the Biden administration has eliminated more than $9B in student debt but that’s less than 1% of total student debt

President Biden’s Department of Education has focused on “discharging” student loans for borrowers affected by permanent disability or school closures.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this May 17, 2018, file photo, new graduates line up before the start of the Bergen Community College commencement at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. There’s no single policy or action that will alleviate America’s $1.74 trillion student loan debt crisis while simultaneously preventing students from taking on unaffordable amounts of future debt. Higher education financing experts are divided on the exact combination of solutions, but all agree it will require a multipronged approach. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

Within the first month of President Joe Biden’s tenure in office, Congressional progressives began pushing for the president to cancel $50,000 in student loan debt for all borrowers. The issue of student debt cancellation has remained salient ever since.

So when news outlets reported in late August that Biden’s administration had canceled over $9 billion in student loan debt since January, people noticed. That led to a viral tweet that asked the question, “For who?”

THE QUESTION

Has the Biden administration canceled more than $9 billion in student loan debt?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is true.

Yes, the Biden administration has canceled more than $9 billion in student loan debt. The cancellations have been for small groups of borrowers and are less than 1% of total student loan debt.

WHAT WE FOUND

In March and August, two separate moves from the Department of Education discharged a combined $7.1 billion in student debt for about 450,000 people who have a “total and permanent” disability.

Later in August, the Department of Education discharged $1.1 billion in student debt for 115,000 former students at ITT Technical Institute (ITT) based on problems leading up to the school’s closure. That adds up to $8.2 billion between the latter three announcements.

That move was part of the pre-existing borrower defense program, which gives borrowers harmed by institutional misconduct relief from their federal student loans. The Department of Education streamlined the program in March to grant greater debt relief to borrowers who qualified.

Between the additional relief granted by borrower defense streamline and the other discharges this year, the Department of Education said it has discharged $9.5 billion in loans for 563,000 people since January.

The Federal Reserve of New York’s most recent calculation of total outstanding student loan debt is $1.57 trillion. So, the Biden administration has discharged approximately 0.61% of student loan debt nationwide.

So far, the Biden administration has focused on eliminating student debt for borrowers affected by disability or school closures.

More from VERIFY: Yes, the $300 weekly federal unemployment payment has ended

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

Follow Us

Want something VERIFIED?

Text: 202-410-8808