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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Natow

Biden Says He Will Not Use Executive Action to Cancel $50,000 in Student Loan Debt

At a town hall hosted by CNN earlier this week, President Joe Biden said he does not plan to use executive action to forgive $50,000 per loan of student debt, indicating he does not believe he has the power to do so. President Biden also said he might forgive $10,000 per loan instead. He also indicated that whether loan debt would be forgiven may depend on whether a student attended a private or public institution.

The president reemphasized his preferred college affordability policy of tuition-free public college for students whose families earn less than $125,000 per year.

Biden's comments supporting $10,000 loan forgiveness and tuition-free public college for those whose household income is less than $125,000 per year are consistent with comments he made during the presidential campaign last year.

The president's statements on student loan debt drew criticism from federal lawmakers such as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY). Criticism included the perspective that Biden does indeed have the authority as president to cancel $50,000 per loan and that it should not matter where a student attended college in order to have their student loans forgiven. The National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, which represents the interests of non-profit private institutions, also criticized Biden's comments that suggested private college graduates might not have their debt forgiven under the president's plan.

Read Inside Higher Education's coverage of this issue here.

Read the Chronicle of Higher Education's coverage here.

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