Student Loan Forgiveness is Here, but Only for the Selected Few

The lingering possibility of student loan forgiveness has long played a significant role in excitement for President Joe Biden’s many presidential promises. Soon after inauguration, however, Biden’s plan of forgiveness imminently faltered — placing this compelling incentive on the backburner. As time continues to pass and national student loan debt rises, the idea of cancelation has quickly become an afterthought. Furthermore, alongside the year-and-a-half-long postponement of student loan repayment, many question the viability of remittance. A long-standing national debate, the likelihood of loan cancellation became rather obscure…that is until mid-August.

Seven months after being sworn into office, Biden’s long-awaited plan of student loan cancellation has seen some forms of solidifying. Breaking the barriers of abstraction, student loan cancellation has been reworked toward concrete action. As of Aug. 28, Biden has been said to have canceled as much as $9.5 billion worth of student loans. Some might ask, “What is the catch?” To which the answer would be that the prized loan cancelation does not necessitate proper cancelation for everyone.

On Aug. 19, it was announced that Biden would immediately cancel over $5 billion worth of student loans amongst over 300 thousand disabled borrowers. A stepping stone itself, Biden extended the coveted loan cancelation to former students of the now disestablished institution, ITT Tech. The Department of Education has since forgiven the debts of these eligible student loan borrowers.

Though a far cry from the initial $50,000 cancelation promise made to student loan borrowers, Biden and his administration upheld their decision, questioning the president’s authority to provide otherwise.

Where does this leave the rest of the nation’s student loan borrowers? As the country reached $1.9 trillion in student loan debt at the end of 2020, less than a quarter of borrower debt has been offset. At UIS alone, the average student loan debt among 2019 UIS graduates was estimated around $24 thousand per student —  $5,000 lower than the collective debt of 2019 national and Illinois graduates. While accrued interest rates of such loans continue to rise, students across the nation reach new piques of debt. Despite no evident plans for students who are not applicable to the newly-regulated framework, Democratic representatives, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Chuck Schumer, continue to vouch for up to $50,000 of student loan cancelation for all borrowers.