Thousands of Kansans eligible for student debt forgiveness, White House officials say

Kansans who have struggled to repay student debt may receive relief, with hundreds of thousands in the state eligible for some form of debt forgiveness, the Biden-Harris administration announced Tuesday.

In Kansas, about 360,900 student loan recipients qualify for some form of loan forgiveness, with 225,500 Kansan Pell Grant recipients eligible. In the neighboring state Missouri, 777,300 borrowers are eligible for some form of loan forgiveness, with 502,200 eligible Pell Grant recipients.

President Joe Biden unveiled his plan for student debt relief in August, saying his administration would forgive thousands of dollars in student loans to help people recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, before student loan payments resume in January.

Debt cancellation applies to current borrowers, with 2020-2021 income levels factored into consideration of eligibility for forgiveness. The majority of student debt relief is targeted at households making less than $75,000 annually.

The administration said the plan helps diverse groups, as about 71% of Black undergraduate borrowers and 65% of Latino undergraduate borrowers are recipients of Pell Grants, which are awarded to students with the lowest household income. Pell Grant recipients are eligible for $20,000 in debt forgiveness. Other loan recipients can have up to $10,000 in loans forgiven.

More than 40 million borrowers across the U.S. qualify for some form of loan forgiveness, and around 20 million borrowers could have all of their loans forgiven under the student debt relief plan, according to White House officials.

During a Tuesday White House virtual press conference on the program, officials said the plan had widespread backing.

“We know that many, many Americans are supportive of taking action to make student debt burdens more manageable, even those who don’t currently have student debt, which makes sense given that many of them will have experienced this challenge in the past,” said Carmel Martin, the White House deputy assistant to the president for economic mobility.

“Providing this relief and giving people breathing room as we move back into student loan repayment will help those who are supported to be stronger contributors to our economy. They’ll be able to think about buying houses, starting businesses, be in a better financial position for retirement, which will benefit the economy overall,” Martin added.

— Rachel Mipro reports for Kansas Reflector.


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