Americans mired in student loan debt have been anxiously watching to see if the current administration and Congress act on their assurances that they want to do something about the devastating toll that this debt takes on so many people.
President Joe Biden has reportedly been determining whether he can use his executive authority to forgive or cancel loans, which does not require the support of Congress. (Note: The terms “forgiveness” and “cancellation” are largely used interchangeably.)
A focus on those with “major debt,” yet no college degree
According to Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, the administration is particularly focused on those “in major debt that weren’t even able to finish their degree, who do not have the means to remove that debt.” He says that the administration recognizes that this debt is “holding people back” from realizing many of their goals.
The president might be able to cancel student loan debt or provide some other kind of relief for some individuals, such as those who have “major debt” and no college degree to show for it — often because they couldn’t afford to continue their education. However, implementing any wide-scale student loan forgiveness or cancellation would likely require congressional action. There appear to be no current plans for any such action.
Billions in student loan debts have already been canceled this year
It should be noted that the Biden administration has canceled at least $11.5 billion in student loans this year. However, progressive members of Congress like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have called on the president to use his authority to cancel even more student loan debt.
Since there’s no way of knowing if or when widespread student loan debt relief will become a reality, it’s wise to determine what options you have for lessening the burden of your student loans. While student loan debt is typically not dischargeable through bankruptcy, other types of debt are. It’s wise to explore all of your debt relief options.