There is over a trillion dollars in student loan debt in the United States. Much of that belongs to people who failed to graduate, are unemployed, or under-employed. Research shows this debt does not just adversely impact the individuals with the debt but is also a drag on the economy as a whole. Because of this, there is momentum behind both total and partial student loan forgiveness on a national level.
The candidate that represented this platform in the last election was President-elect Joe Biden. Many expected when he proposed his latest stimulus package that his campaign promise around student loan debt forgiveness would be included. That was not the case.
The $1.9 trillion plan includes a lot: more stimulus checks, an increase in the federal minimum wage, eviction and foreclosure protections, and an increase in unemployment benefits. However, there is no mention of student debt forgiveness. Biden is on record saying that he supports at least $10,000 in student debt forgiveness, and officials within the incoming administration say that is still the case.
It is possible that Biden is planning to attack student loan debt in another bill. There is speculation that he didn’t want to attach it to a crucial COVID-19 relief bill. That would make political sense as student loan forgiveness is controversial and although Democrats will have a majority in both houses of Congress, the slim majority in the Senate necessitates at least some Republican support will be needed.
Though student loans were not addressed, the bill would give some much-needed aid to education in other ways to the tune of $170 billion for K-12 schools and institutions.
Read more about the plan here.