Sep 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

CBO: Biden's student loan forgiveness plan could cost $400 billion

 President Joe Biden delivers remarks regarding student loan debt forgiveness in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Wednesday August 24, 2022.

President Biden delivers remarks on student loan debt forgiveness on Aug. 24. Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Biden administration's student loan forgiveness plan could cost about $400 billion over 30 years, per new estimates from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Why it matters: Biden's student loan plan has presented new political hurdles for the administration — and the CBO figures give Republican critics another talking point for their already-vocal opposition.

Driving the news: CBO also estimated that the administration's plan to extend the pause on loan repayments by four months would cost roughly $20 billion.

  • "The president announced possibly the most expensive executive action in history without a score, and we’re now seeing just how expensive this policy is going to be," Marc Goldwein, senior vice president for policy with the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, told the Washington Post.

Between the lines: The CBO figures do not include the cost of the White House's plan to cap the monthly amount borrowers can be forced to repay as a percentage of their income from 10% to 5%, the Post notes.

The big picture: The Biden administration in August announced that it would cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for individual borrowers who make under $125,000 per year.

  • Approximately 20 million Americans could have their debt completely canceled under the plan and more than 40 million could have at least some of their debt canceled.
  • Conservative groups are already launching a search for prospective plaintiffs to challenge Biden's plan in court, Axios' Sophia Cai reports.

Go deeper... GOP governors urge Biden to withdraw his student loan forgiveness plan

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that CBO estimate is over 30 years, not 10.

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