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AASCU Statement on the Biden Administration’s Debt Forgiveness Plan and Income-Driven Repayment Plan

By: Office of AASCU

The American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) is pleased with President Biden’s announcement to offer targeted student debt cancellation to former Pell Grant recipients with a current individual income below $125,000 or families with a household income below $250,000. The administration is also proposing to establish a new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan to help current and future individuals and families with the greatest financial need better manage their student debt. 

“We thank President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Education Secretary Miguel Cardona for offering this impactful debt relief to low- and middle-income families. Being able to have between $10,000 and $20,000 of debt forgiven will have a meaningful impact on the lives of student borrowers, their families, and the communities in which they reside, as each recover from the recent pandemic and its residual economic impact,” said Dr. Mildred García, president of AASCU. “The Biden administration’s proposal to create a new, more equitable income-driven repayment (IDR) plan will significantly help address the needs of many current and future students, particularly the students AASCU institutions serve, who are first-generation, low-income, students of color, and/or adult students. These students have had to assume debt to achieve their dream of earning a higher education degree and become engaged democratic citizens. We at AASCU understand that the job of keeping college affordable jointly rests with institutions of higher education, state, and federal governments,” García added. 

AASCU institutions continue to call on Congress to double the maximum Pell Grant award to $13,000 as the best and most effective means to decrease the need to undertake student debt. Regional comprehensive colleges and universities continue to offer students a high-quality and affordable education and enroll the largest proportion of Pell Grant recipients pursuing a bachelor’s degree at public four-year institutions across the country. Today’s actions will provide timely and focused relief for lower- and middle-income borrowers and their families. We look forward to engaging with the Department of Education in the development of the regulatory framework for the new IDR plan and the proposed annual watchlist of the programs with the worst debt levels in the country. 

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