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Tuesday, December 5, 2023

GOP Bill Threatens Student Loans

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President Joe Biden’s student loan relief plan is facing a major threat from a Republican-backed bill that could potentially “annihilate” his efforts to provide relief to millions of struggling borrowers. The GOP proposal would effectively reverse many of the key student loan reforms introduced by the previous administration, undoing years of progress in reducing student debt burdens and ensuring access to higher education for all.

The bill, known as the “Student Loan Forgiveness and Relief Act,” seeks to limit the ability of the federal government to forgive or cancel student loans, thereby making it more difficult for borrowers to obtain debt relief. It would also eliminate several key loan forgiveness programs, including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), which has been instrumental in helping teachers, nurses, and other public servants reduce their debt burdens while pursuing careers that benefit society.

The PSLF program, which was created in 2007, allows borrowers who work in qualifying public service jobs to have their federal student loans forgiven after 10 years of repayment. However, the GOP bill would eliminate this program, leaving millions of public servants without any viable options for loan forgiveness or relief.

In addition to eliminating loan forgiveness programs, the bill would also make it more difficult for borrowers to discharge their student loans in bankruptcy. Currently, student loans are considered non-dischargeable in bankruptcy, meaning that borrowers cannot simply declare bankruptcy to eliminate their debt. However, under the GOP proposal, borrowers would be required to prove “undue hardship” in order to have their student loans discharged in bankruptcy, a nearly impossible standard to meet for most borrowers.

The bill would also eliminate income-driven repayment plans, which allow borrowers to pay back their loans based on their income, rather than the amount they owe. These plans have been instrumental in helping borrowers manage their debt burdens while pursuing careers in lower-paying fields, such as social work or education.

Overall, the GOP proposal represents a major setback for student loan borrowers and for the broader goal of increasing access to higher education for all Americans. By eliminating key loan forgiveness programs and making it more difficult for borrowers to discharge their loans in bankruptcy, the bill would effectively create a student debt crisis that would be felt for years to come.

President Biden and his administration have been working hard to address the student loan crisis, and have proposed several measures to provide relief to struggling borrowers. These include expanding income-driven repayment plans, forgiving up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower, and expanding access to loan forgiveness programs for public servants and other qualifying borrowers.

However, the GOP bill would effectively render these efforts moot, and would leave millions of borrowers with no viable options for relief. This is particularly concerning given the current economic climate, which has left many borrowers struggling to make ends meet while dealing with high levels of debt.

It remains to be seen whether the GOP bill will pass, but if it does, it would represent a major blow to the student loan reform movement, and would make it much more difficult for borrowers to obtain the relief they need and deserve. As such, it is crucial that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle work together to find a solution that addresses the student loan crisis in a comprehensive and effective manner, rather than simply dismantling the progress that has been made in recent years.

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