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Biden’s Bold Move: Fast-Tracking Student Debt Relief and Shooting for the Stars

Hold onto your graduation caps, folks! President Joe Biden, in a move that’s part superhero, part financial wizard, is revving up his administration’s engines to turbocharge his new loan repayment program. It’s like he’s putting on a cape and diving into the deep end of student debt relief. 

Imagine this: The White House, probably not as exciting as Hogwarts but still full of magic tricks, is about to pull a rabbit out of its hat this Friday. They’re announcing that the Biden administration, in a surprising twist, will kickstart a provision of the new loan repayment program earlier than expected. Picture Biden, with a wand (or maybe just a pen), ready to make some debt disappear.

This isn’t just any old plan. It’s the “SAVE plan,” a superhero in its own right, offering a faster route to loan forgiveness for borrowers who took out less than $12,000 and have been faithfully making payments for a decade. It’s like getting a ‘get out of debt’ card in Monopoly, but in real life.

Originally, this benefit was set to roll out in July with other perks, like lower monthly payments for borrowers. But in a plot twist worthy of a season finale, the administration is now saying, “Let’s start this party early!” So, come next month, some lucky borrowers will begin to see their debts vanish. Abracadabra!

Now, let’s talk numbers. Nearly 7 million borrowers have enrolled in this magical program, but it’s still a mystery how many will qualify for this immediate sorcery of debt forgiveness.

The White House is like a maestro orchestrating a symphony of debt relief efforts. They’re not only focused on getting Biden credit for his debt-canceling prowess but also working on boosting the total number of borrowers who get to dance out of debt.

Remember Biden’s signature mass debt relief program that got the Supreme Court’s thumbs down last summer? Well, the administration still waved its wand and approved $132 billion worth of relief for over 3.6 million borrowers under other programs. It’s like they’re playing Whack-a-Mole with student debt.

The SAVE plan is a generous benefactor, reducing monthly payments and sprinkling interest subsidies to stop debt from ballooning like a bad birthday party. It’s particularly aimed at those who took out smaller loans for community college or who started college but couldn’t cross the finish line.

Under this plan, if you borrowed $12,000 or less, you start getting your remaining balance discharged after making payments for 10 years. Borrow a bit more, say $13,000, and it’s 11 years. It’s like a debt repayment game of limbo – how low can you go?

But not everyone’s throwing confetti over this plan. Republicans are giving it the side-eye, calling it unfair and fiscally irresponsible. Rep. Virginia Foxx, in particular, had some colorful words, comparing the Department of Education’s financial management to infants playing with abacuses. Ouch, talk about a burn!

Despite the criticism, the Education Department is on a mission to boost enrollment in the SAVE plan, especially for those who might qualify for immediate forgiveness. About 3.9 million of the enrolled borrowers are so low on the income ladder they qualify for a $0 monthly payment. It’s like the financial version of ‘The Price is Right.’

However, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Some borrowers trying to enroll in the program have faced more hurdles than an Olympic steeplechase. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reported a backlog of over 450,000 borrowers waiting for their applications to be processed. It’s like waiting in line at the DMV, but for your financial future.

The good news is the backlog is shrinking, but it’s not gone yet. The Education Department’s Office of Federal Student Aid is cracking the whip to make sure servicers process applications in a timely manner. They’re not afraid to put loan servicers in the timeout corner if they don’t play nice.

So, as we wait for Biden’s big announcement, it’s clear he’s not backing down from his quest to be the student loan borrowers’ knight in shining armor. He’s using every tool in his toolbox to give borrowers some breathing room. In the world of student debt, it seems Biden is ready to go to infinity and beyond to help borrowers reach for the stars – or at least a zero balance.