Newly inaugurated president, Joe Biden, seems to be keeping his promises made on his campaign trail regarding student debt. His first day in office, Biden signed 17 executive orders that included student debt suspension through September of this year. Biden’s presidential campaign was littered with debt relief promises and emphasis on decreasing student loans throughout his presidency. While many believed this was just a ruse to get himself in office, signing the order to pause student loan payments is the first step in decreasing the unattainable payments for many indefinitely.
Congress is also in support for college debt relief. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders proposed to eliminate $50,000 for all Americans with student debt. However, Biden’s plan currently gives $10,000 to student debt holders from public institutions according to Fox Business. Confused at this statement, I decided to read Biden’s student relief plan critically.
His plan details that families making under $125,000 annually will be eligible for free public college and university. Any graduated student with debt will be excused from loan payments if they make less than $25,000 per year. Anyone making above that pays 5% of their discretionary income to pay off debt. After 20 years, if payments are made on time and in full, the rest of the debt will be forgiven. Discretionary income is one’s salary after taxes are paid and essential spending is subtracted. His official website says nothing about private or public debt, but I would keep an eye out. Every student graduating this year will automatically be enrolled in this program once it is implemented.
While there still remains confusion for some on whether his plan will include private school debt, there are big steps being made to advocate for struggling graduates. Congress and the Department of Education both believe there is a problem to be solved and a solution to be found. Once again, this is an example of news outlets misinterpreting information. Biden is looking to make higher public education free, but he has stated that he understands the value of private institutions. He, nor the Department of Education, has not singled out private school debt in the relief plan.
Obviously as a private school student, I hope this relief plan is for us as well. There would be no reason to exclude private school debt from the plan, especially if they are counting it with the federal student loan amount- which is currently at $1.5 trillion. Keep an eye out and fact-check your sources.