Personal finance

Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan gets a record number of public comments. Here’s what people are saying

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US President Joe Biden gestures after speaking about student loan debt relief at Madison Area Technical College in Madison, Wisconsin, April 8, 2024. 
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

President Joe Biden hopes to start forgiving the student loans of millions of Americans before the November presidential election.

But first his administration will need to read the public comments submitted by people on his debt relief proposal published in the Federal Register in April.

That may take a while because more than 34,000 people have already left feedback, and there’s still over a week left in the 30-day public comment period.

“That’s a record,” said higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz, referring to previous comment counts on student aid regulations.

“Controversial and polarizing issues tend to get more public comments,” Kantrowitz added.

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Although this student loan forgiveness plan is more targeted than the president’s initial effort, which was ultimately blocked by the Supreme Court last summer, tens of millions of borrowers still stand to benefit.

Here’s what people are saying about Biden’s Plan B for student loan forgiveness.

(Comments have been excerpted from posted submissions on Names have been withheld.)

‘I plan on dying with student loan debt’

“I think this is a great idea. I am 52 years old with a lot of student loan debt from years ago. It has quadrupled from what I actually borrowed. I think the interest is ridiculous. With the crazy inflation, how can anyone afford to pay for anything these days? I plan on dying with student loan debt. It is very depressing.”

‘An unjust burden on Americans’

“I call on the Biden administration to stop imposing an unjust burden on Americans who did not go to college or have paid off their student loan debt with yet another unfair plan to carry out massive student loan debt cancellation.

The president will take hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes from hardworking Americans, millions of whom never went to college, to pay for this new student loan cancellation plan. These taxpayers will be forced to pay for the degrees of those who did attend college, including doctors and lawyers who have every ability to pay their debts.

If students want to attend college, then they should work for companies that provide educational assistance. That’s how I attended college and got my BA and MS. The only way people appreciate what they have is if THEY BUST THEIR BUNS EARNING IT.”

‘People will remember who made their lives easier’

“Not only will forgiving all the debt make individuals’ lives easier, but they’ll be able to spend more money in their local economies, which benefits small business[es] and the community as a whole. And at election time, people will remember who made their lives easier.”

‘Rectifying long-standing inequities’

“As an African American millennial from River Rouge, MI, I believe it is crucial to support and approve student loan debt relief proposals. Our community faces distinct generational disparities that necessitate such measures. Historically, African Americans have had limited access to generational wealth. This gap makes it necessary for many of us to rely on financial aid … to pursue higher education.

Despite achieving success in our careers, the heavy yoke of student debt often means we are starting several paces behind, continuously trying to catch up. This reality hinders not only individual financial growth but also our collective ability to invest in our communities.

Approving student loan debt relief is more than a financial reprieve; it is a step towards rectifying long-standing inequities, centuries of compounded interest and empowering a significant segment of our society to achieve true economic participation and security.”

Biden ‘attempting to purchase votes’

“I paid for my undergraduate degree by working throughout my high school and college career. I worked overtime and three part-time jobs when I pursued a graduate degree. College is a personal choice that comes with many adult decisions. There are trade-offs.

It was my choice to go to college and graduate school. Nobody helped me. I earned every credit the hard way.

It is not the federal government’s responsibility to pass those personal decisions off onto our country’s taxpayers. This feels like President Biden and the Democrats are simply attempting to ‘purchase’ votes in a presidential election year.”

‘The sooner the better’

“My generation, especially those of us who came from poor factory families and blue collar workers, were told to go to college, no matter what. We were told that college was our way out, our path to the American Dream. It has become an American Nightmare as we try to navigate Byzantine repayment programs, waiting on hold for hours to try and get a person on the phone at our servicer, and do everything in our power to help our children avoid student debt, no matter the cost.

Student loan debt accounts for a huge chunk of my family of 4’s total debt load. We have a mortgage, a car note, and student loans. We do not have credit card debt.

These proposed rule changes will be a huge relief to our family, and the sooner the better.”

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