Biden to spotlight student loan relief plan at HBCU

President Joe Biden travels to his home state of Delaware on Friday to mark the launch of his student-loan forgiveness program at a historically black university — a day after two courts rejected challenges to the plan.


what you need to know

  • President Joe Biden travels to his home state of Delaware on Friday to mark the launch of his student loan forgiveness program at a historically black university
  • Biden will speak at Delaware State University, where more than 75% of its students are on Pell tuition-paying scholarships
  • The President kicked off the program Monday by announcing the opening of the debt relief application
  • On Thursday, a federal judge dismissed an attempt by six Republican-led states to block the plan, hours after Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied an appeal in another case

Biden will speak at Delaware State University, where more than 75% of students are on Pell tuition-paying scholarships, according to a White House official. The president’s plan provides for up to $20,000 in forgiveness for borrowers who received the school’s grants.

Biden kicked off the program Monday by announcing the opening of bids for debt relief. Borrowers are eligible for forgiveness of up to $10,000 if they earned less than $125,000 per year in 2020 or 2021, or up to $20,000 for Pell grant recipients.

On Thursday, a federal judge dismissed efforts by six Republican-led states to block the plan, hours after Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett denied an appeal in another case brought by a Wisconsin taxpayer group.

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Biden is expected Friday to portray debt relief as “life-changing” for millions of working and middle-class Americans, particularly borrowers of color, a White House official said.

And he is expected to renew criticism of Republicans, who have harshly attacked the student loan relief plan as costly and unfair, and called some of them hypocritical for being awarded pandemic relief loans.

He will also speak about why black colleges and universities are historically crucial and the efforts his administration is making to strengthen them — including broader work on fixes to the student loan system to make college more affordable.

Of the approximately 40 million Americans eligible for student loan relief, more than 60% are Pell Scholarship recipients.

Additionally, 71% of Black borrowers are Pell recipients, along with 65% of Latino borrowers.

The Biden administration has indicated that 90% of the relief will go to Americans earning less than $75,000 a year.

Republicans, meanwhile, have pointed to the cost of the plan, which the Congressional Budget Office says is expected to cost $400 billion.

“He wants to give [relief] to those who attended Ivy League schools and have big dollar degrees,” Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge, who is leading the GOP states’ challenge to Biden’s program, said in an interview with Fox News earlier this month.

“Having that debt on the backs of hard-working Americans — and our plumbers and mechanics, machinists and nurses and teachers — and that’s against the law… and it’s patently unfair,” she said.

The Biden administration has officially opened a simple online portal for Americans to see if they qualify for student loan debt relief on Monday.

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Officials have encouraged people to apply by mid-November to receive relief before payments and interest resume on Jan. 1.

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