30 Of The Best Reactions From The Internet To Biden Canceling Student Loan Debt
It’s official. President Biden announced on Wednesday a new student loan forgiveness plan that would wipe out significant amounts of debt for tens of millions of Americans. He said the long-awaited plan would erase $10,000 in debt for those earning less than $125,000 per year (or $250,000 for households) and $20,000 for recipients of Pell Grants — for students with the greatest financial need.
The debt relief — which was delivered after years of pressure and heated debates — comes just weeks before the midterm elections. "An entire generation is now saddled with unsustainable debt in exchange for an attempt, at least, at a college degree," Mr. Biden said in his remarks at the White House. "The burden is so heavy that even if you graduate, you may not have access to the middle-class life that the college degree once provided."
Immediately, the topic took over the internet with anyone and everyone offering their opinions on the matter. And a brief scroll through Twitter made one thing clear — responses to the news have been all over the place. Although the plan is a game-changer for those trapped in a cycle of staggering debt, certain people online were quick to denounce the plan.
Below, we at Bored Panda wrapped up some of the reactions people shared online to Republicans criticizing the move, from the sarcastic to the sincere. Continue scrolling and upvote the ones you agree with the most. Then let us know where you land on this topic, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
President Biden announced on Wednesday his long-awaited student loan forgiveness plan that will wipe out up to $10,000 in debt for borrowers and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients
The internet immediately erupted with reactions, here’s what people had to say
The new student loan forgiveness plan fulfilled President Joe Biden’s campaign pledge to deliver financial relief for millions of Americans. However, not everyone with debt will qualify. "Both of these targeted actions are for families who need it the most — working and middle-class people hit especially hard during the pandemic making under $125,000 a year," Biden said. "You make more than that, you don’t qualify."
The debt forgiveness applies to current students as well, although future students will not be eligible for relief as it applies to those who took out their loans before July 2022. Undergraduate loan payments will also be no more than 5% of monthly income — down from the 10% available under the most recent income-driven repayment plan.
Moreover, according to the Education Department, the relief is capped at the amount of a borrower’s outstanding eligible debt. "For example: If you are eligible for $20,000 in debt relief but have a balance of $15,000 remaining, you will only receive $15,000 in relief."
As stated in the tweet, the president will also extend the payment pause on most federal student loans "one final time" through December 31, 2022.
In his remarks, Biden said that 95% of borrowers, or about 43 million people, would benefit from these actions. Of those, over 60% are Pell Grant recipients — that’s around 27 million people who will get $20,000 in debt relief.
Altogether, nearly 45% of borrowers would have their debt fully canceled: "That’s 20 million people who can start getting on with their lives," Biden said.
"All of this means people can start to finally crawl out from under that mountain of debt to get on top of their rent and their utilities, to finally think about buying a home or starting a family or starting a business."
If you’re unsure whether you need to take action to receive loan forgiveness, the U.S. Department of Education explained that nearly 8 million borrowers won’t have to lift a finger. Because the department already has relevant income data, they are eligible to receive relief automatically.
If the Department of Education doesn't have your income data (or you don't know if they do), the Administration will launch a short application for people seeking debt relief in the coming weeks. It will be available before the pause on federal student loan repayments ends on December 31st. If you would like to know when the application is available, the Department of Education says borrowers can sign up to be notified here.
Recently, the term "student loan crisis" has become familiar across the U.S. Over 40 million Americans are in debt for their education, owing a cumulative $1.7 trillion. Skyrocketing higher education costs coupled with stagnant wages have historically outpaced inflation in recent decades, as well as caused the amount of student debt to soar. The mean average balance today is over $30,000, up from around $12,000 in 1980.
Although the president had been pushed by Democrats and advocates to deliver deeper relief and cancel $50,000 or more per person as up to $20,000 won’t please everyone, he had repeatedly expressed reluctance to wipe out that much debt. That amount of relief would add up to more than $900 billion and would leave 80% of student loan borrowers no longer owing anything. But that large amount is more likely to be met with political attacks and legal challenges, higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz told CNBC.
"The biggest criticism of forgiving $50,000 is that it provides forgiveness for borrowers who are capable of repaying their own student loans," Kantrowitz said and added it’s usually people with multiple degrees who owe the most. "Republicans, who largely oppose student debt forgiveness, are also less likely to challenge a lower amount of forgiveness simply on the cost factor," he explained.
But as it turns out, the amount of forgiveness does not matter, as the plan still received backlash from Republicans and certain people who already paid their loans or never even borrowed because they saved up in advance, worked their way through college, or simply didn’t go there. In the past few days, Biden’s plan has triggered an avalanche of criticism from Republican lawmakers, the GOP, and a handful of Democratic moderates.
The plan "would unnecessarily provide tens of thousands of dollars to many high-income households in a way that goes well beyond even what he promised in the heat of a Democratic primary when the problem facing the country was low inflation — not high inflation," Jason Furman, a Harvard economist and former top economist for President Barack Obama, told The New York Times. And the Republican National Committee even released a statement blasting the program as "Biden’s bailout for the wealthy."
In response, The White House caused a stir on Twitter when they used Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness to clap back at criticism, with Biden saying, "No one complained that those loans caused inflation." This program was created in March 2020 and aimed to keep employees of small businesses’ payrolls during the early days of the pandemic.
For example, The White House Twitter account reminded Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a frequent Biden critic, that she was once a recipient of the PPP and was forgiven $183,504 in loans. Each Republican who criticized Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan felt the heat from the White House.
"I will never apologize for helping America’s middle class — especially not to the same folks who voted for a $2 trillion tax cut for the wealthy and giant corporations that racked up the deficit," Biden wrote on Twitter Thursday.
Our team here at Bored Panda is curious — what do you think of this long-awaited plan? Has it changed your life in any way? Or do you believe there's much more that still needs to be done? Be sure to tell us where you stand on the matter in the comments, we’d love to hear from you.