Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


President Biden announces action on student loan forgiveness during visit to Madison

‘This relief can be life changing,’ Biden says
Bennett Waara

During a visit to Madison on Monday, President Joe Biden announced five new action steps that will create more student loan debt relief. This is Biden’s third visit to Wisconsin this year, following a visit in January and March to tout infrastructure progress. This is his tenth visit to the state since taking office.

Through two debt relief programs launched and revitalized by the Biden-Harris administration, over 150,000 Wisconsinites have had their student loan debt dismissed.

Biden spoke about his roots as a first-generation college student and the boundaries that exist for people to access higher education. Student debt relief has been at the forefront of Biden’s campaign efforts since his election, something he emphasized multiple times in his speech.


“How can we be the leading country in the world without the best education system and access to it?” Biden said.

The first of the five action steps total is canceling up to $20,000 in interest for borrowers who have accrued or capitalized interest on their loans since beginning repayments. Another step is automatically canceling debt for borrowers who would otherwise be eligible for loan forgiveness under income-driven repayment plans, like the Saving on a Valuable Education Plan or Public Service Loan Forgiveness but are not currently enrolled in the programs.

The SAVE plan is an income-driven repayment plan, so it bases loan payments on discretionary income, with some people paying as low as $0 a month, according to Biden.

The plan was announced in August 2023, also implementing complete loan forgiveness after a certain amount of years if borrowers have kept up with their payments. The SAVE plan is the most affordable ever, with 135,000 people in Wisconsin already having their loans forgiven through the plan, Biden said.

Ahead of Biden’s address, Wisconsin native Ashley Storck shared her need for loan forgiveness. Storck and her partner, Sam Leary, graduated from the University of Wisconsin with $75,000 in combined loans. They founded Marketini Media, but when Biden’s loan forgiveness plan was struck down, Storck said it devastated them, along with millions of Americans.

The loan forgiveness plan would have canceled up to $20,000 in debt per borrower with a household income of less than $125,000. But Nebraska and five other states challenged the plan, ultimately leading to a Supreme Court decision against the loan forgiveness plan. The court ruled the Secretary of Education did not have the authority to cancel the approximately-$430 billion in debt affecting all borrowers.

After the plan was struck down, Storck and Leary enrolled in Biden’s SAVE program and their loans went from $700 to $0 per month.

“Life partners, business partners, hard-working, paying off the loans, only to see [their] dreams being crushed by student debt,” Biden said about Storck and Leary. “But now, thanks to what we’re doing, student debt is no longer holding you back.”

“It truly made all the difference to have a president who believes in our dreams and has our backs,” Storck said.

Biden also plans to cancel debt for those with undergraduate loans who began making repayments at least two decades ago and debt for graduate school borrowers who entered repayment at least 25 years ago.

Another step will cancel student debt for borrowers who enrolled in low-financial-value programs, according to Biden. The last step will cancel debt for borrowers experiencing hardship in their lives, such as childcare or healthcare, which prevent them from fully paying back their loans now or in the future.

“Because while a college degree still is a ticket to the middle class, that ticket is becoming much too expensive,” Biden said.

The SAVE plan was announced after the Supreme Court blocked Biden’s initial debt relief plan in Biden v. Nebraska. The blocked plan focused on providing relief to low-to-middle-class families, making the repayment process easier for future borrowers and extended the pause on payments that began during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Office of Federal Student Aid.

“My administration is taking the most significant action to provide student debt relief ever in the history of this country,” Biden said.

The Biden-Harris administration has also reworked the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan, making it easier for those who work in public service to enroll in the program and get loan relief, according to Biden. He added that 16,400 Wisconsinites have had their loans forgiven through this program.

“That’s what this is all about … give everybody a fair shot, just a shot, the freedom to chase their dreams,” Biden said.

Gov. Tony Evers spoke before Biden and emphasized the administration’s efforts to stop student debt. Evers said public education changed his life and he knows it can change the lives of others.

“Today, high costs can often be a barrier for kids and families to pursuing their dreams,” Evers said. “Furthering their future higher education should be affordable and accessible for every Wisconsinite who chooses..”

Evers outlined efforts to solve student debt in Wisconsin, including the task force on student debt, but noted Republicans have been obstructing their efforts at every point. Evers said Biden has still not given up, saying “he’s never stopped working to deliver on his promise.”

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