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Biden cancels student debt for public service workers

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U.S. President Joe Biden has cancelled the student debts of nearly 78,000 public service workers, including teachers and frontline (nurses, paramedics) workers.
biden student debt public service

U.S. President Joe Biden has cancelled the student debts of nearly 78,000 public service workers, including teachers and frontline (nurses, paramedics) workers.

Biden will wipe nearly $US6 billion ($AU9 billion) in debt.

It follows several stages of a government policy cancelling student debt.

Republicans have criticised Biden (a Democrat) for the plan, claiming it will leave U.S. taxpayers worse off.

Background

According to the U.S. Department of Education, in 2022 the average student graduated from university with $US25,000 in student debt ($AU38,000).

President Biden announced a student debt relief plan in 2022. Since then, it’s estimated around four million Americans have had their debts substantially lowered or wiped.

This week’s announcement is targeted at public service workers, who Biden said have “dedicated their careers to serving their communities”.

Further details

Student debt relief has cost an estimated $US143.6 billion ($AU218.5 billion) so far.

Biden initially proposed cancelling $US400 billion ($AU612b) in student debt, but the plan was rejected in a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year. The court found the President did not have the authority to cancel debts at that scale.

Biden said lawmakers were investigating alternative paths to “deliver student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible as quickly as possible”.

Opposition

Republican lawmakers have described student debt cancellation as “reckless,” claiming it would cost taxpayers an estimated $US559 billion ($AU855 billion).

Senator Bill Cassidy said the scheme “only shifts the burden from those who chose to take out loans to those who decided not to go to college, paid their way, or already responsibly paid off their loans”.

Senator John Thune urged President Biden to create a “real plan to lower the costs of higher education”.

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