Press Release

AFT’s Weingarten Hails Biden Administration Announcement on Student Debt Discharge

For Release:


Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement after the U.S. Department of Education announced it will extend $39 billion in student debt relief to 804,000 borrowers through adjustments to income-driven repayment plans:

“Today, 800,000 borrowers can breathe easier knowing that President Biden is on their side when it comes to removing the cruel burden of student loan debt that has hung over their heads for decades. That charade ends now—this action ensures that a promise made is a promise kept.

“Borrowers who followed the rules and made more than 20 years of payments were told by the Trump administration that, even though they did everything right and paid their loans, errors made by predatory loan servicers meant they had to get back in line.

“The AFT has led the charge to fix a broken student loan system rigged to benefit corporations instead of borrowers, the majority of whom are people of color, women and low-income. From suing servicers to hosting thousands of debt clinics nationwide, our union's efforts have paid off for teachers, nurses and higher education workers pursuing a pathway to the middle class. 

“The president is with us in our fight. Despite the attacks from extremist justices on the Supreme Court, he has already forgiven $72 billion in debt under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Today's announcement will bring the total debt forgiven to more than $110 billion, more evidence that for this administration, working people, not for-profit corporations, come first.”

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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.