Press Release

New Biden Plans for Student Debt Relief Will Be Life-Changing for Millions

Administration Steps Up to Deliver More Broad-Based Relief for Over 26 Million Additional Borrowers

For Release:


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

WASHINGTON—AFT members will join President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona today in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and New York to discuss the administration’s new set of pathbreaking plans for relieving billions more in student debt for tens of millions more borrowers around the country.

Among other provisions, the plans stop people from paying more in interest than their original obligation and eliminate student debt for those who’ve been paying for 20 years or more. This effort represents more than post-pandemic relief; it is a real solution to revive economic and educational opportunity. It brings the total number of borrowers receiving relief to 30 million.

AFT President Randi Weingarten said: “This is a lifechanging intervention. Student debt has become a stranglehold on economic opportunity for this generation of strivers and dreamers. The Biden-Harris administration is pursuing mechanisms to remove the shackles of student debt for millions more Americans because they are determined to improve people’s lives. While loan servicers and extremists in Congress and the courts throw up barriers, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have shown in deeds, not just words, that they have our backs.

“Erasing student debt is both a moral obligation and an economic imperative. It will turbocharge the economy and remove the psychological burden for those who only want to get ahead but instead find themselves ensnared in a never-ending cycle of debt and distress. These plans are an investment in our country’s continued economic rebound and in making affordable, accessible higher education a reality, rather than a pipedream, for generations to come.”

Tonya Cabeza, a Philadelphia elementary school teacher leader and member of the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers, who will meet with Vice President Harris later today, said: “When I received the congratulations letter in May of 2023 that my loans had been forgiven, it was one of the best days of my life. My daughter was beginning her college career, and this gave me the ability to help her.”

Picolya McCall, a Los Angeles community college adjunct and member of the Los Angeles College Faculty Guild, Local 1521, said: “Thanks to President Biden’s new SAVE program, my monthly payments are down to zero dollars per month. As a single mom of two small children, this program is the lifeline that I needed to stick with my passion for public service and still take care of my family!”

The new plans will waive accrued and capitalized interest for millions of borrowers; automatically discharge debt for borrowers who are otherwise eligible for loan forgiveness under the Saving on a Valuable Education plan ( known as SAVE), the closed school loan discharge program or other forgiveness programs but are not enrolled; eliminate student debt for borrowers in repayment for two decades or more; help borrowers enrolled in low-financial-value programs or institutions; and assist borrowers experiencing hardship.

Prior to today’s announcement, the administration had already announced $146 billion in approved student debt relief for 4 million borrowers.

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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.