After President Biden Cancels Student Debt

Meeting the urgency of the college affordability and student debt crisis will require bold action to restore the promise of opportunity for all Americans.

With more than 43 million borrowers owing more than $1.6 trillion in outstanding federal student loans, the nation is at a critical juncture on the shared problems of college cost and student loan debt. For years, rising costs, state disinvestment in higher education, and insufficient federal support for students and borrowers have all contributed to what is commonly known as a “student debt crisis.” In response, many have called on President Joe Biden to cancel some or all student debt—a decision the president could make at any moment.

But after President Biden cancels student loan debt, two crucial questions will remain: How do we prevent this situation from happening in the future? And what do we do about any student loan debt that may remain?

In exploring these questions, this report outlines a series of issues and recommendations for Congress and the administration to consider, ranging from expanding grant and work-study aid and implementing stronger institutional accountability measures to reforming the student loan system. These recommendations are intended to address the long-term and short-term needs of borrowers and students after an amount of student loan debt is canceled.

The above excerpt was originally published in the Center for American Progress. Click here to view the full report.

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Author of the report

Jared C. Bass

Senior Vice President, Education


Jesse O’Connell

Former Senior Vice President, Education


Higher Education Policy

The Higher Education team works toward building an affordable and high-quality higher education system that supports economic mobility and racial equity.

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