Feb 17, 2023 - Politics & Policy

Where Biden's student loan forgiveness got the most interest

Percentage of eligible borrowers who applied for student debt relief, by congressional district
Data: U.S. Department of Education; Map: Thomas Oide/Axios

At least half of eligible borrowers in every congressional district applied for or were automatically approved for President Biden's student debt relief plan before it was blocked due to legal challenges.

Why it matters: There was strong interest across red and blue districts during its brief open window, per new Education Department data.

The big picture: Some 26 million people — out of more than 40 million eligible borrowers — applied for student loan debt cancellation or had already provided enough information to the Education Department to be deemed eligible.

The details: Most congressional districts saw 60-65% of eligible borrowers apply or automatically qualify.

  • Districts in northern Illinois, for instance, saw some of the highest interest in the program, over 70%.
  • Districts in Puerto, Oklahoma and Arizona had some of the lowest rates, just topping 50%.

State of play: The Supreme Court is expected to hear oral arguments on the student loan forgiveness plan later this month after the Justice Department filed an emergency application asking for the justices to lift the injunction issued by a lower appeals court.

  • The program, which provides up to $20,000 in debt relief for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year, was challenged by six Republican states.
  • They argued that the proposal exceeds Biden's executive authority and would deprive them of future tax revenue.

The intrigue: More than half of House Republicans and 40 GOP senators have filed briefs with the Supreme Court, arguing that the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan should be ruled unlawful.

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