Aug 25, 2022 - News

Student debt will vanish for 100,000 Utahns under Biden plan

Illustration of a ball and chain replacing the tassel of a graduation cap, with the chains breaking.

Illustration: Maura Losch/Axios

President Biden's student loan forgiveness plan will entirely erase student debt for about 100,000 Utahns — and another 60,000 could see theirs cut at least in half.

Driving the news: Yesterday's move canceled up to $10,000 in student loans — $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients — for borrowers who make less than $125,000 a year.

Federal student loan debt owed by borrowers in Utah, by age group
Data: Federal Student Aid; Note: Includes outstanding principal and interest balances from Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans and Perkins Loans; Table: Simran Parwani/Axios

By the numbers: More than 300,000 Utahns are paying off student loans, most under $20,000, according to federal loan data.

  • Utahns' average student debt (a bit over $30,000) is lower than in most of the country, which means $10,000 is real money here — not just a drop in the bucket.
  • Those figures don't include private loans, but that affects only 3% of Utah graduates.

The big picture: Young Utahns stand to benefit in particular — as many put off buying homes amid worsening wealth inequality — since debt cancellation now allows them to avoid years of interest.

  • Utah borrowers under age 34 had about $23,000 of federal student debt on average.
  • By contrast, Utah borrowers aged 35–61 have about $45,000 in loans and interest to repay.

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