26 million federal student loan borrowers remain in limbo, data indicate

Biden Student Loan Debt
Posted at 3:04 PM, Jan 27, 2023

The White House released updated totals indicating that 26 million Americans have applied for student loan forgiveness pending a court ruling on the legality of President Joe Biden’s August 2022 executive order.

Of those, 16 million were approved for forgiveness. The administration estimated that 40 million in total would be eligible for forgiveness.

“These borrowers could be benefitting from the Administration’s program right now were it not for lawsuits brought by elected officials and special interests,” the White House wrote on Friday.

Biden's plan calls for borrowers with incomes of up to $125,000 to receive up to $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness. That amount increases to $20,000 for borrowers who received pell grants.

In November, federal courts ruled the Biden administration could not move forward with forgiveness. The Biden administration has since appealed the decision and has taken the case to the Supreme Court.

In the meantime, federal student loan payments remain on pause until at least June, pending the Supreme Court’s decision.

Proponents of student loan forgiveness point out the rising cost of education in recent decades. The cost of tuition at a public four-year university in 2020-21 averaged $9,400, up from $8,500 from a decade earlier, when adjusted for inflation.

Government data show that in the last three decades, the cost of attending a public university, which is generally far more affordable than a private one, has doubled, when adjusted for inflation. In the last 40 years, the cost has tripled.

A student attending a public university from 2017-21 would be expected to pay $38,093 in tuition and mandatory fees, in 2021 dollars. A person who attended a public university in 1977-81 would have been expected to pay $10,335 in 2021 dollars.