President Biden Forgives Another $5.8B in Student Loans for Public Servants

The forgiveness comes as part of a temporary fix to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
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Matthew Arrojas is a news reporter at BestColleges covering higher education issues and policy. He previously worked as the hospitality and tourism news reporter at the South Florida Business Journal. He also covered higher education policy issues as...
Published on March 21, 2024
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  • President Joe Biden announced the forgiveness of $5.8 billion in federal student loan debt for 77,700 borrowers.
  • The forgiveness comes in part thanks to a temporary fix to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
  • The Biden administration has now forgiven $143.6 billion in student loan debt for 3.96 million borrowers.
  • Biden also expanded the scope of PSLF to cover previously excluded public service jobs.

President Joe Biden just forgave another $5.8 billion in federal student loan debt for 77,700 borrowers.

Biden's administration announced Thursday morning that it had waived the debt for borrowers through temporary fixes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program and a more sweeping rework of the program.

PSLF waives remaining debt for federal student loan borrowers who have worked at least 10 years in nonprofit work or within a government entity like a police department or public school.

The Department of Education (ED) initiated a limited PSLF waiver in October 2021.

The limited waiver allowed borrowers to count prior time in a public service job toward the 10-year timeline to forgiveness. It also allowed borrowers with ineligible loans to consolidate into the Direct Loan program to benefit from PSLF forgiveness.

Additionally, Biden used negotiated rulemaking to make regulatory changes to PSLF during his time in office. Those changes expanded the scope of the program to cover public service jobs that had previously been left out — such as adjunct professors at public colleges and universities — and allowed borrowers to count time spent in some forms of forbearance toward their timeline to forgiveness.

ED said both of these actions led to the $5.8 billion in new debt forgiveness.

"These public service workers have dedicated their careers to serving their communities, but because of past administrative failures, never got the relief they were entitled to under the law," Biden said in a White House statement. "Because of the fixes my administration has made, we have now canceled student debt for over 870,000 public service workers — compared to only about 7,000 public service borrowers ever receiving forgiveness prior to my administration."

ED said Biden's administration has now cumulatively forgiven $143.6 billion in federal student loan debt for 3.96 million borrowers since taking office.

Prior to Thursday’s announcement, ED revealed in late January that it had waived $4.9 billion in debt for PSLF beneficiaries and borrowers enrolled in an income-driven repayment (IDR) plan. That means the Biden administration has forgiven more than $10 billion in debt in just the first quarter of 2024.