Not only did President Joe Biden win the youth vote, he ran away with it. But nearly one year into office, some of those voters feel betrayed by the president’s campaign promises on student debt relief.
Not long afterward, Biden went on to outline his student loan forgiveness plan. His plan, he wrote in a post on Medium, would “immediately cancel a minimum of $10,000 of student debt per person” and forgive “all undergraduate tuition-related federal student debt from two- and four-year public colleges and universities for debt- holders earning up to $125,000.”
Why hasn’t Biden kept his student loan forgiveness promise?
For starters, Democratic leadership in Congress hasn’t included the $10,000 debt cancellation—or for that matter any student loan wipeouts—in the legislation they tried to push through in 2021. It’s unclear if that will change in 2022. And if it does, The proposal would likely face an uphill battle getting approval from moderates like Sen. Joe Manchin—who recently worked to remove “free community college” from the latest reconciliation bill.
Unable to pass it through Congress, that has left Biden with only one other possible route: executive action. Last spring, the White House said it would look into seeing if he had the legal authority to wipe out student loan debt through a simple executive order.
Of course, the Biden administration could continue to expand existing student loan forgiveness programs—like income-driven repayment plans and Public Service Loan Forgiveness—this year. However, that still wouldn’t amount to anything close to the $10,000 he promised voters, nor would it match the pace of providing “immediately” forgiveness as pledged.