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Biden administration announces $4.8 billion in student loan forgiveness for 80,400 borrowers

Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it would forgive an additional $4.8 billion in student loan debt for nearly 80,400 borrowers.

“Before President Biden took office, it was virtually impossible for eligible borrowers to access the student debt relief they rightfully earned,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement. “This level of debt relief is unparalleled and we have no intention of slowing down.”

The administration has now canceled a total of nearly $132 billion for more than 3.6 million Americans, the Department of Education said.

The debt was forgiven under changes to the department’s income-driven repayment plans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which both consider loans repaid after a certain amount of time.

The latest round of relieved debt comes about five months after the Supreme Court shot down Biden’s original plan to discharge up to $20,000 for borrowers making less than $125,000 a year.

In July, the administration announced $39 billion in relief for 800,000 borrowers and followed with another $9 billion for 125,000 borrowers in October.

The administration is working on new regulations that could discharge even more student debt, the Department of Education said earlier this week.

Federal student loan payments were paused at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic but resumed in the fall.

Many advocates for student loan debt relief have urged Biden to use the Higher Education Act to more broadly cancel debt obligations and circumvent the Supreme Court’s Republican majority.