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Country continues to wait for student debt forgiveness decision by President Biden

Some higher education leaders ask Biden to do more than just forgive debt
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Posted at 3:00 AM, Jun 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-02 07:28:38-04

The country — and especially millions of Americans with student debt — continues to wait on President Joe Biden's word regarding a decision on student debt forgiveness.

After initially opposing executive action on the topic, recent comments by aides and the president himself suggest he has, perhaps, changed his mind.

No final decision has been made, though a decision is expected soon.

In fact, as the Washington Post reports, Biden had hoped to make the announcement at the University of Delaware commencement ceremony last weekend. The mass shooting in Texas changed plans, according to reports.

But the latest from the Washington Post and other outlets suggests the president is considering canceling $10,000 of debt for individuals making less than $150,000 a year.

Couples who file their taxes jointly would qualify if they make under $300,000 combined.

Calls for more

Some higher education leaders are calling on the president to do more than just cancel some of the debt.

"It won't solve any of the underlying issues," said Scott Pulsipher, president of Western Governors University. "More change is needed."

Pulsipher is encouraging the White House to do more than just cancel debt, as he believes it will just mean that another round of cancelations will be called for in five or 10 years.

Pulsipher suggested a model that his institution recently adopted. His students pay a flat fee for tuition and can take as many classes as they want. Traditional universities often cap the number of credit hours, resulting in degrees taking longer to obtain than they need to.

"We have a flat-rate tuition model at WGU. We charge tuition for a six-month period. During that six-month period, a student can complete as many courses as they are able," Pulsipher said.

As for calls for change, some groups believe $10,000 isn't enough.

NAACP President Derrick Johnson recently tweeted: "Canceling $10,000 in student loan debt is like pouring a bucket of ice water on a forest fire."

Bloomberg reports that Biden currently has at least 30 senior aides working for him with active student loan debt, including press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.