President Joe Biden’s Education Department just got the latest sign that its temporary reforms to a student-debt relief program are working.
Nearly 610,000 student loan borrowers have received debt relief from the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program since October 2021, when the Biden administration temporarily expanded eligibility.
The program promises to wipe away remaining federal student loan debt after an eligible government or nonprofit worker makes 10 years of monthly payments.
Another 6,000 borrowers in the program will see their loans discharged soon. Altogether, those cancellations will total $42 billion of federal student debt, the Department of Education said Monday.
Just 7,000 borrowers had been approved for relief under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program during the Trump administration, according to the department.
The targeted debt relief program was created in 2007 but was riddled with problems, and a very small percentage of people who applied had received forgiveness before 2021, prompting the Biden administration to make changes.
“Since Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked relentlessly to fix a broken student loan system, including by making sure we fulfill the promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness for those who have spent a decade or more serving our communities and our country,” Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a statement.
“The difference that Public Service Loan Forgiveness is making in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans reminds us why we must continue doing everything we can to fight for borrowers and why families cannot afford to have progress derailed by partisan politicians,” he said.
The administration’s separate, one-time student loan forgiveness program is currently held up in court after several Republican-led states sued, arguing the executive branch does not have the power to implement the proposed debt relief.