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Biden cancels nearly $6 billion in student debt for public service workers

Activists and students protest in front of the Supreme Court during a rally for student debt cancellation in Washington, D.C., in February 2023.
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds
AFP via Getty Images
Activists and students protest in front of the Supreme Court during a rally for student debt cancellation in Washington, D.C., in February 2023.

Updated March 21, 2024 at 3:13 PM ET

Nearly 80,000 public service workers — including teachers, nurses and firefighters — will have roughly $6 billion in student loans forgiven Thursday, according to a statement from the Biden administration.

"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," the statement said.

"Because of the fixes my Administration has made, we have now cancelled 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."

The 78,000 borrowers who are eligible for this forgiveness will receive an email from the president next week, the White House said. Thousands of others in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will also be notified via email if they are within two years of having their debt forgiven.

The announcement from the administration is one of several that Biden has made in recent months to lower or cancel student debt. It comes as the president is traveling the country and selling his economic track record and ongoing message to voters on lowering costs.

"From day one of my Administration, I promised to fix broken student loan programs and make sure higher education is a ticket to the middle class, not a barrier to opportunity," said Biden.

"I won't back down from using every tool at my disposal to deliver student debt relief to more Americans, and build an economy from the middle out and bottom up."

Copyright 2024 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

C Mandler
Deepa Shivaram
Deepa Shivaram is a multi-platform political reporter on NPR's Washington Desk.

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