While the Biden administration has forgiven roughly $25 billion in federal student debt, nearly 43 million Americans remain on the hook for roughly $1.6 trillion in loans.
Earlier this month, President Biden indicated he is still considering federal student debt relief. Previous reports say he is expected to make a decision within the next two months. Details on the exact plan are limited, but multiple sources have confirmed to The Hill that Biden was considering expunging at least $10,000 per borrower.
Student loan forgiveness in any form would undoubtedly impact borrowers, but especially those living in California.
States with larger populations, like California, have the highest totals of federal student loan debt.
Residents of California alone owe a cumulative $141.8 billion in federal student loan debt as of December 2021. That equates to almost 1% of the total national debt. Texas residents have the second-highest debt burden at $120 billion.
The average student loan borrower in California owes $37,084, according to the Education Data Initiative. While it’s not the highest average – residents of the District of Columbia owe $54,945, on average – it is higher than the national average of $37,014.
There are over 3.8 million student borrowers living in California. Among them, 16% owe less than $5,000 while another 20% owe between $20,000 and $40,000. If the Biden administration were to approve a debt relief plan of $10,000 per borrower, that would mean roughly 611,800 Californians could have their entire debt erased and nearly 765,000 could have between one-quarter and one-half of their debt forgiven.
These statistics don’t take into account recent actions by the Biden administration that have wiped out about $25 billion in federal student debt for some 1.3 million borrowers.
Thousands received $6.8 billion in debt cancellation “through improvements to PSLF,” according to the Education Department. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, or PSLF, is intended to provide debt relief to employees working with nonprofit and government agencies after they make the necessary amount of payments.
Over 400,000 borrowers have received more than $8.5 billion in debt forgiveness through total and permanent disability discharge. Another roughly 690,000 borrowers have had a total of $7.9 billion in student loans canceled through discharges due to borrower defense and school closures.
Most recently, the Education Department announced the discharge of roughly $5.8 billion in loans for 560,000 borrowers of the former Corinthian Colleges. The school faced multiple investigations and was accused of defrauding students out of millions in federally backed loans. Vice President Kamala Harris investigated Corinthian Colleges while serving as California’s attorney general.