Student loan debt reached $1.7 trillion in 2020, and Democratic leaders have pushed for President Joe Biden's administration to forgive many of those loans. The Department of Education says it'll cancel billions of student debt, but only for certain individuals.
More than 323,000 borrowers with total and permanent disabilities (TPD) will have $5.8 billion of student loan debt discharged, according to a Thursday press release from the department. The forgiveness starts in September for those individuals whose data is already existing with the Social Security Administration.
"Today's action removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law," Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in a press release Friday. "We've heard loud and clear from borrowers with disabilities and advocates about the need for this change and we are excited to follow through on it. This change reduces red tape with the aim of making processes as simple as possible for borrowers who need support."
The department also says it'll stop asking borrowers for proof of their income and will pursue the elimination of the three-year monitoring period, starting in October.
In March, the department forgave $1 billion of student debt for borrowers who attended certain for-profit colleges, and then another $500 million in June.
Biden campaigned on forgiving $10,000 of student debt per borrower, but he has yet to follow through. Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer, of New York, and Elizabeth Warren, from Massachusetts, are some of the members of Congress calling for a cancellation of $50,000 in student loans. Biden has extended the student loan forbearance thrice since he took office; due to the most recent 90 day extension, borrowers won't have to make payments on their student loans until May 1, 2022.