Center for American Progress

STATEMENT: In Canceling Student Debt, President Biden Is Correcting Decades of Broken Promises, Says CAP’s Patrick Gaspard
Press Statement

STATEMENT: In Canceling Student Debt, President Biden Is Correcting Decades of Broken Promises, Says CAP’s Patrick Gaspard

Washington, D.C. — Today, President Joe Biden took executive action to cancel $20,000 in federal student debt for Pell Grant recipients, cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt for other borrowers, and extend the student loan repayment pause. The plan will cancel the debt of borrowers making less than $125,000 per year and cap payments at 5 percent of income. Following the announcement, Patrick Gaspard, president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

At last. President Biden’s bold and urgent action on student debt begins to restore a promise we’ve made to generations of Americans that investment in education is their ladder to opportunity. 

Devastating college costs, lack of public investment, and predatory institutions have made this a promise unfulfilled for far too many and have harmed the nation’s competitiveness. President Biden’s action tackles alarming and growing disparities in our economy by recognizing that the burden of student loans has not been shared equally. In awarding additional debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients, the president is taking a monumental step to ensure relief reaches the people who need it most. The extension of the repayment pause is an equally big deal, putting time on the clock to initiate more reforms and add to the millions of borrowers this administration has already helped. These two policies, working hand-in-hand with a new, more generous repayment plan based on income, will deliver a reset on the commitment that a college education can be an affordable path to opportunity and success. 

This was a bold step. Now, let’s take the next one and actually confront runaway costs in higher education. We must increase funding for the Pell Grant program, hold colleges accountable for poor outcomes, and make broader reforms to the student loan system.

Related resource: “After President Biden Cancels Student Debt” by Jared C. Bass 

For more information or to speak with an expert, please contact Sarah Nadeau at snadeau@americanprogress.org or 603.496.9417.