Biden administration cancels another $3.9 billion in student loan debt

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Some former ITT Tech students were already eligible for debt cancellation, but now the department will automatically cancel all remaining federal student loan debt that borrowers took on to attend the school from January 1, 2005, through its closure in September 2016.

ITT Tech shut down shortly after the government pulled the plug on its federal funding because it had failed to show it was in compliance with certain accreditation standards. At the time, the school was the subject of several state and federal probes over its recruitment tactics, lending practices and job placement figures.

“It is time for student borrowers to stop shouldering the burden from ITT’s years of lies and false promises,” said Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement Tuesday.

“The evidence shows that for years, ITT’s leaders intentionally misled students about the quality of their programs in order to profit off federal student loan programs, with no regard for the hardship this would cause,” he added.

The Department of Education also announced Tuesday that it has formally notified DeVry University that it is required to pay millions of dollars for previously approved student debt cancellations for about 1,800 of its students. While ITT Tech has already shut its doors, DeVry University is still operating and the government wants to recoup the cost of the student loan discharges from the institution.

Biden weighs broad student debt cancellation

Biden is expected to announce by the end of August whether he will more broadly cancel student loan debt for the 43 million federal student loan borrowers.

Key Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, have been calling on Biden to cancel $50,000 per borrower. But Biden has consistently pushed back on canceling that much and has suggested he would support wiping away $10,000 per borrower, in line with a pledge he made on the campaign trail in 2020.

Until now, Biden has taken a more targeted approach to student debt relief. His administration has authorized the cancellation of nearly $32 billion so far — more than any other administration — largely for borrowers who were defrauded by their for-profit colleges and for

permanently disabled borrowers.

He has also temporarily expanded the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that forgives the debt of government and nonprofit workers after 10 years of payments, and made changes to the income-driven repayment plans, bringing millions of borrowers closer to forgiveness.

Biden has also extended the pandemic-related pause on federal student loan payments several times. Borrower balances have effectively been frozen for more than two years, with no payments required on most federal student loans since March 2020 — when the coronavirus pandemic sent many Americans into lockdown. During this time, interest stopped accumulating and collections on defaulted debt have been on hold.

The pause is set to expire on August 31, but Biden has

yet to decide whether he will extend it again.

Americans’ attitudes toward student debt relief are sharply divided along partisan and generational lines.

A majority of Democrats in a May CNN poll (56%) — and an even wider majority of self-described liberals (69%) — say the government is doing too little on student loan debt, while only a third of Republicans and self-described conservatives alike say the same.

This story is breaking and will be updated.

August 16, 2022 at 07:49PM

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