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Ed Department: Mass Loan Cancellation Is Off the Table

Ed Department: Mass Loan Cancellation Is Off the Table

Inside Higher Ed

Katherine Knott
October 11, 2023
Ever since President Biden said that his administration would try again to offer broad student debt relief after the Supreme Court struck down his first plan, experts and advocates have wondered what shape that relief would take.
On Tuesday, the department offered its clearest answer yet—at least about what it is not planning to do.
“We’re not looking at a broad-based debt cancellation where we are going to wipe off debt in its entirety,” said Tamy Abernathy, director of the policy coordination group at the Education Department’s Office of Postsecondary Education. “That doesn’t mean that, in some cases, there wouldn’t be cancellation.”
Instead, the department is exploring ways to provide relief to distinct groups of borrowers, such as those who have seen their balances balloon because of unpaid interest. Officials haven’t explained exactly why they are taking this approach, but it’s clear they are hoping to craft a plan that will pass legal muster. More specifics on what the department will propose are expected next month.
The department’s focus, Abernathy said later Tuesday, is on the “the length of loans and the amount of time borrowers have spent in repayment without making headway” on their loans.
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