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More than 16,000 Washingtonians eligible for $777M in student loan debt forgiveness

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(The Center Square) – More than 16,000 borrowers in Washington state are eligible for the forgiveness of more than $777 million in student loan debt, according to state-by-state data recently released by the U.S. Department of Education.

The release of individual state data provides a more detailed follow-up to Friday’s announcement by the Biden administration that it would forgive $39 billion of student debt for 804,000 borrowers.

“The U.S. Department of Education (Department) today released state-by-state data on the number of borrowers who are eligible for automatic loan relief under fixes to Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans implemented by the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure all borrowers have an accurate count of the number of monthly payments that qualify toward forgiveness,” a Tuesday news release stated.

The debt forgiveness plan comes after last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling against a separate, more sweeping loan forgiveness plan by the administration.

On June 30, the nation’s highest court held the administration needed the endorsement of Congress before undertaking its program to erase up to $20,000 of student debt for tens of millions of borrowers carrying federal loans that would have cost an estimated $400 billion.

In the process, the court rejected arguments that a bipartisan 2003 law dealing with national emergencies, the HEROES Act, gave Biden the power to sweep away all that debt.

The most recent loan forgiveness plan seems to be on a more solid legal footing, according to University of Washington law professor Hugh Spitzer, based on borrowers being in an income-driven repayment plan for lower earners.

“This is much less of a big deal than the last student loan forgiveness package,” Spitzer explained in an email to The Center Square. “This time around, they are forgiving loans of students who had been promised forgiveness after a certain number of years. But the U.S. government and the loan servicing companies screwed up and didn’t keep good records. All these students deserve to have the balance of their loans forgiven.”

There are four income-driven repayment plans designed to make loan payments more affordable for low earners.

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