WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.) released the following statement in response to President Joe Biden’s cancellation of up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt for those making under $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples who file jointly), as well as other rules changes to support borrowers and make the cost of a higher education more affordable now and in the future.
“A higher education is not the only way to succeed in this country, but the long-term financial benefits are indisputable. As President Joe Biden reminded us today, 12 years of public education is no longer enough for most Americans. But as states have cut back their proportion of funding for higher education, the cost has skyrocketed and the financial burdens of the pandemic dug a deeper hole for millions. I support the president’s plan to provide targeted student loan relief to low- and middle-income Americans with federal student loans. Today’s actions will wipe away the debts of 20 million of the 43 million federal student loan borrowers. And reducing loan payments as a percentage of disposable income from 10 percent to the proposed 5 percent will allow more individuals to afford to grow their family or buy a house without the burden of student debt locking them out of opportunities. Permanent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to incorporate more public servants, which provides loan forgiveness for individuals who have engaged in public service, also will have lasting benefits for individuals and local communities nationwide.
“I support a final extension of the pause in student loan repayments to allow the administration time to continue to work to revamp the repayment system and offer borrowers a fairer student loan process. Still more needs to be done by Congress through a Higher Education Act reauthorization that ensures students have a greater understanding of the debt they are taking on before going to college, as well as ensuring colleges have greater responsibility for the economic success of their graduates.”