On October 9th, 2023, President Joe Biden posted a tweet stating “We’ve canceled $127 billion in student debt for nearly 3.6 million Americans.” This refers to his administration’s student debt forgiveness plan that was recently enacted.
Biden’s tweet acknowledges that his administration’s plan has now provided substantial relief to nearly 3.6 million borrowers by canceling $127 billion of their student loan debt.
The debt forgiveness plan was one of Biden’s core campaign promises in the 2020 election, as he recognized the crushing impact student debt was having on the finances and lives of millions of Americans. After taking office in 2021, Biden directed his Secretary of Education, Miguel Cardona, to review options for cancelling student debt through executive action.
This led to the unveiling in August 2022 of a sweeping debt forgiveness program that eliminates $10,000 in federal student loan debt for individual borrowers making under $125,000 per year, and $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.
While Biden’s plan has provided much needed relief for millions, it has also been controversial and faced legal challenges. Conservative opponents argued the President does not have the executive authority to enact mass debt cancellation, and that it unfairly burdens taxpayers while benefitting some who are well off.
Multiple lawsuits were filed aiming to block student debt forgiveness, though the Supreme Court recently rejected a stay request that would have halted the plan.
Beyond the legal debates, there has also been debate regarding the economic impacts of large-scale student debt cancellation. Supporters claim it will provide a boost to the economy, increasing spending and stimulating job growth. Critics argue it could worsen inflation or disproportionately benefits higher earners. The extent of these economic effects are still to be fully determined.
Biden’s tweet signifies the importance this issue has held for his administration. Reducing student debt has been a central part of his domestic policy agenda since taking office. While $127 billion is a huge figure, some progressives have argued it does not go far enough, continuing the push for broader debt forgiveness or making public colleges tuition-free.
The issue of student debt relief has now become a defining topic that will likely influence voters in the upcoming 2024 election. Biden will surely point to the over 3 million Americans who have already had their balances reduced as progress made under his leadership.
Meanwhile, Republicans will continue presenting legal and economic arguments against his debt cancellation plans to court skeptical voters.
President Biden’s tweet summarizes the current impact of his unprecedented action addressing America’s ballooning student debt crisis. While positions remain divided on whether his administration had the authority to eliminate $127 billion owed by nearly 3.6 million borrowers, this policy is now reshaping personal finances and political debates.
For financially burdened student loan holders, Biden’s plan is life changing. For critics and supporters alike, it signals this issue will remain at the forefront leading up to the 2024 presidential race.