Student Debt Forgiveness

The Story:

One of the big challenges now facing the Biden administration involves the forgiveness of student debt, i.e., debt incurred in the pursuit of higher education. At the request of the President, the Department of Education has extended an existing Covid-related pause on the collections of or payments on such debts, through the end of September 2021. Yet elements within the Biden coalition differ as to how much further to go.


Many figures in the Democratic Party want Biden simply to cancel outright all student debt up to $50,000 per debtor. Biden is inclined to go up to but not beyond a $10,000 cancellation. The difference in the numbers is entangled with disputes over what he would need legislative authority for versus what he can do by executive order.

The Thing to Know:

For a lot of reasons, the US has found itself in a situation in which (a) college education is critical to the preservation of middle class status from one generation to the next, yet (b) precisely that education is out of range of much of the middle class unless the family or the student in question, or both, are willing to incur a very heavy burden of indebtedness.


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