Education Secretary nominee Miguel Cardona testifies before the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee during his confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill Washington, DC., February 3, 2021.
Susan Walsh | Pool | Reuters
The U.S. Department of Education announced Thursday it will cancel $5.8 billion in student debt for more than 320,000 borrowers.
The debt forgiveness, which will go to borrowers with a total and permanent disability, will be automatically granted using data already available to the Social Security Administration. People should start seeing the relief in September.
The Education Department said it also plans to stop asking these borrowers to continue sharing earnings data after they receive the relief.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from borrowers with disabilities and advocates about the need for this change, and we are excited to follow through on it,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, in a statement.
“This change reduces red tape with the aim of making processes as simple as possible for borrowers who need support.”
The Education Department under the Biden administration has also canceled student debt for thousands of students who attended for-profit schools.
Still, President Joe Biden remains under pressure from Democrats, advocates and borrowers to go further and cancel $50,000 per borrower in student debt for all.
Biden has asked the Education Department and the U.S. Department of Justice to review his legal authority to forgive student debt through executive action. The findings of those reports are not yet public.
“You don’t need Congress,” Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has said. “All you need is the flick of a pen.”
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