President Joe Biden said Friday that millions of Americans are “angry” after the Supreme Court brought down his student loan forgiveness program but he announced new measures to ease the financial burden.
“I know there are millions of Americans in this country who feel disappointed and discouraged or even a little bit angry,” Biden said. “I must admit I do too.”
Biden announced measures to “provide student debt relief to as many borrowers as possible, as quickly as possible.”
One measure is a 12-month pause on penalties for missing debt repayments on federal loans used by many students to finance their time in the notoriously expensive US higher education system.
This will “protect the most vulnerable borrowers,” the White House said.
Another is a change to repayment plans by the Department of Education, with a cut in the percentage of borrower’s available income that must be paid each month toward loans from 10 to five percent.
In addition, borrowers would see more of their income protected from having to be made available for repayments.
The court decision was not a surprise, given challenges to the presidential authority to issue sweeping loan forgiveness.
However, it was still a political setback for Biden, who is seeking to increase state support for the poor.
The White House emphasized that Biden had already expanded the longstanding Pell Grant program to help finance the poorest college applicants and also sought to revamp existing loan forgiveness programs for groups like public service workers.