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Nearly two months after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s student loan debt cancellation plan, his new SAVE plan seeks to ease the burden for millions of Americans as repayment resumes in October.
“Today I’m proud to announce a new program called the SAVE Plan. It’s the most affordable student loan plan ever,” Biden announced on Tuesday.
Instead of calculating a borrower’s monthly payment based on what they owe, the new plan bases it on their income and family size. Biden estimates for those making over $30,000 it will save roughly $1,000 per year. Meanwhile, those making under $30,000 won’t have to pay anything until they earn more.
“On day one of my administration, I promised to fix the problems of the existing student loan program that hurt borrowers for much too long. And I’m proud we’re keeping that promise,” Biden said.
Biden finds creative ways to reduce student loan debt after SCOTUS snub
Roughly 43.6 million Americans hold over $1.65 trillion in federal student loan debt, according to Education Data Initiative.
Biden’s original plan to cancel $430 billion of that debt would’ve disproportionately benefit Black, Hispanic and other underserved Americans who are more likely to require federal aid to attend college. Specifically, Biden’s original plan would’ve cancelled up to $20,000 in student loan debt for 43 million Americans.
Millions had already signed up and been approved for debt cancellation before the Supreme Court ultimately struck down the proposal as unconstitutional at the end of June.
“The Secretary asserts that the HEROES Act grants him the authority to cancel $430 billion of student loan principal. It does not. We hold today that the Act allows the Secretary to ‘waive or modify’ existing statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to financial assistance programs under the Education Act, not to rewrite that statute from the ground up,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a 6-3 majority opinion.
Since then and ahead of the 2024 presidential election, Biden has sought to sidestep the ruling to continue offering relief to borrowers.
The average cost of college tuition and fees has gone from $512 per year in 1975 to $9,349 in 2020.
Biden seeks to SAVE the day with new plan
Brookings Institution, a century-old public policy research organization, notes that student loan debt has contributed to the wealth gap between Black and White Americans.
“Past discrimination should compel researchers and experts to seek solutions to the student debt crisis that center the experience of Black people,” it stated in a 2021 report.
Meanwhile, Biden has used other tools at his disposal to slash student loan debt for millions.
The Biden-Harris Administration has already canceled debt for borrowers who made monthly payments for at least 20 years and borrowers who were scammed at private colleges.
“We’ve already approved over $116 billion in debt cancelation for 3.4 million Americans no matter how many lawsuits, challenges or roadblocks Republican elected officials or special interests try to put in our way,” Biden said on Tuesday.
Normally, borrowers on an income-driven repayment plan would need to pay at least 10% of their discretionary income. Biden is reducing that payment to 5%.
“It’s gonna give borrowers a little bit more breathing room,” he said. “As long as you pay what you owe under this plan, you’ll no longer see your loan balance grow because of unpaid interest.”
How to enroll
First announced last year, opponents of the measure claim it’s a back door way to cancel student loan debt without going through Congress. Despite threats of new lawsuits, Biden is moving forward with the plan regardless.
To enroll in the plan, visit studentaid.gov/save and submit an application. Biden is urging borrowers to apply before repayments resume in October.