Key Things to Remember If You’re a Student Loan Borrower Following President Joe Biden’s Major Speech

President Joe Biden delivered his first State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress last night. Biden spoke about three major issues affecting the country: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (and the US and its allies’ response), the Covid-19 outbreak, and growing inflation.

However, during his hour-long speech, Biden did not mention student loan relief, an issue that affects more than 40 million Americans. What this Bridge Payday entails for borrowers is as follows.

Biden Doesn’t Think Congress Will Take Action On Student Loan Forgiveness.

Biden ran over a long list of legislative proposals that he expected Congress would consider in the coming months, including tax relief, increased domestic manufacturing and production, and voting rights. He requested that Congress pass several specific laws. However, he did not request that Congress adopt student loan relief legislation.

This is crucial since White House officials have consistently deflected concerns about whether Biden would utilize executive action alone to enact broad student loan forgiveness. Although Biden has raised doubts about whether he has the legal ability to cancel student debt unilaterally, administration officials have consistently stated that he would sign a student loan forgiveness law passed by Congress. 

However, no such bill appears to be on the horizon. The President’s failure to ask Congress to pass a student loan forgiveness bill could be interpreted as an admission that such legislation will not be a top priority for congressional Democrats, who control only a slim majority in both the House and the Senate. If Congress fails to enact legislation to cancel student loans, executive action may be the only way to get further help.

At No Point Did Biden Mention Student Loan Forgiveness Or Other Forms Of Student Loan Relief.

Biden did not even mention the relief that has already been provided to borrowers under his administration. Despite praising his other accomplishments in the last year, such as the passage of the American Rescue Plan and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, by excluding student loans entirely from his speech. 

Over the previous year, the Department of Education has granted more than $16 billion in student loan forgiveness and expanded relief under existing federal loan programs, including Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Biden also extended the current moratorium on most federal student loan payments and interest, saving borrowers billions more.

However, during his speech, Biden did not mention any new student loan relief, such as another extension of the student loan freeze or additional student loan forgiveness measures.

Biden’s Failure To Address Student Loans Frustrated Advocates.

Advocates for student loan borrowers were disappointed that President Biden’s address did not include student loans, despite their continuous campaign to encourage him to offer extensive relief, including mass student loan cancellation.

In a statement, Student Loan Problem, an advocacy group for borrowers, said, “We remained hopeful that President Biden would mention the $1.7 trillion student debt crisis that impacts over 45 million Americans But we are disappointed that he failed to do so.” 

“One of the most difficult economic concerns of our time is the cost of education, as well as the massive debt that looms over American families.”

In a statement, Braxton Brewington, a debtor’s union fighting for borrowers, said, “President Biden’s inability to address exorbitant student loan debt tonight underscores his administration’s anemic efforts on the almost $2 trillion disaster since taking office.”

Pressley has been one of the most vocal members of Congress, urging Biden to adopt aggressive student loan measures, such as enacting mass cancellation through executive action.

Concerns about additional student loan relief remain unanswered.

While Biden did not mention student loans during his speech, this does not rule out the possibility of greater assistance. However, there is still a lot of uncertainty.

For the time being, all signs lead to federal student loan payments and interest resumed after May 1, when Biden’s most recent extension expires. Nonetheless, administration officials have been careful not to label this current extension as “final,” as they did with the previous one, indicating that forces outside their control may need further relief.

While Biden has stated that he does not want to eliminate all student loan debt, the administration has signaled that extra “targeted” assistance may be on the way. The Education Department searches for new methods to alter existing programs and extend eligibility. 

Other strategies being considered by the administration to assist borrowers include:

  • Loosening bankruptcy limitations.
  • Tightening down on loan companies that engage in misbehavior.
  • Simplifying the loan servicing system.

Borrower advocates contend that the administration’s actions thus far have gone well short of what is required to impact borrowers significantly. It’s unclear whether Biden will make more significant changes.

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