Kamala Harris says that these students will receive student loan forgiveness and tuition-free college if Joe Biden is elected president.
Here’s what you need to know.
Cancel Student Loan Debt
Sen. Harris (D-CA), the Democratic nominee for vice president, said that a Biden-Harris administration would cancel student loan debt for some students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBU’s). During a roundtable, Harris discussed the nation’s student loan debt crisis, which now affects more than 45 million borrowers who collectively owe $1.6 trillion.
“In relation to the history of HBCUs, [students] decide to take on a profession of service, which often does not pay as well as if they go into the private sector and do other things,” Harris said. “So for those students who come out and have jobs that pay less than $125,000, student-loan debt will also be forgiven.”
Biden and Harris support student loan forgiveness. However, Harris and Biden do not support wide-scale student loan forgiveness that would forgive all your student loan debt. For example, neither Harris nor Biden support a proposal from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) to cancel all $1.6 trillion of federal and private student loan debt. Therefore, don’t expect all your student loan debt to be forgiven if Biden is elected is president. However, Biden would forgive all undergraduate tuition from two- and four-year public colleges and universities. Biden also would forgive all undergraduate tuition for borrowers who earn $125,000 or less per year and who graduate from a private HBCU’s and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSI’s).
During her presidential campaign, Harris proposed to cancel up to $20,000 of student loan debt. Under Harris’ plan, not everyone would have been eligible to receive student loan forgiveness. For example, borrowers who received Pell Grants, which are available to low-income students to help pay for college, could receive student loan forgiveness if they started and ran a business for at least three years in a disadvantaged community. Harris now supports Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. Harris and Biden also support a plan from Senate Democrats to cancel $10,000 of student loan debt, particularly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. A recent petition from Student Debt Crisis, a non-profit student loan advocacy organization, has amassed more than 1.2 million signatures for a petition to cancel student loan debt.
Make College Tuition-Free
Harris also said that a Biden-Harris administration would make college tuition free as follows:
- Harris and Biden support tuition-free college at two-year and four-year public colleges and universities for those who earn up to $125,000 in annual income.
- Harris and Biden would double the maximum Pell Grant award.
- During the 2020 presidential primaries, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) led the fight for tuition-free college.
- How would tuition-free college be funded? The federal government likely would provide financial support to states to help subsidize the costs for public colleges and universities to offset the free tuition.
How to pay off student loans
Make sure you have a game plan to pay off student loans. Student loan forgiveness and tuition-free college may not happen in the near future or at all. Not sure how to pay off student loans? Start with these four options, all of which have no fees:
Student Loan Resources
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