Biden fast-tracks student debt relief, bringing relief to hundreds in New Hampshire

President Biden announced this week the approval of new student debt cancellation, which is expected to affect over 490 borrowers in New Hampshire totalling $3.6 million in cancelled student debt. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By Colin Booth

February 23, 2024

President Biden announced this week the approval of $1.2 billion in student debt cancellation for nearly 153,000 borrowers enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) repayment plan. This brings the total student debt cancellation under the Biden-Harris Administration to almost $138 billion for nearly 3.9 million borrowers through over two dozen executive actions.

In New Hampshire alone the administration has identified over 490 borrowers who qualify for early ​​SAVE forgiveness totalling $3.6 million in cancelled student debt. Individuals will qualify for this debt cancellation automatically, and should receive an email letting them know their debt has been erased.

The relief is part of the SAVE plan’s policy to forgive debt for borrowers in repayment after as little as 10 years and who took out $12,000 or less in student loans. Originally planned to roll out in July, the provision was implemented nearly six months ahead of schedule.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster expressed her support for the debt cancellation efforts, saying, “seeking a higher education should empower hardworking families, not weigh them down with debt for years on end. I’m pleased to see President Biden take this step to ease the burden on student loan borrowers in New Hampshire and beyond and help families thrive.”

The move is part of the broader SAVE plan, designed to mitigate the challenges posed by escalating student loan debt nationwide. This accelerated timeline particularly benefits community college attendees and individuals with smaller loan amounts, facilitating an expedited path to debt-free status.

KR Epstein, Vice President of Political Affairs for New Hampshire Young Dems, said the Biden administration made good on campaign promises and young borrowers would remember in November.

“President Biden knows it’s critical to do all we can to ensure young Granite Staters have access to opportunities free from barriers — from day one of his presidency, he vowed to fix the student loan system, and he’s since canceled more student debt than any other President in history,” said Epstein. “President Biden will never stop fighting to create more pathways for Granite Staters to succeed, which is why we’re ready to re-elect him in November so he can finish the job he started.”

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In addition to providing immediate relief to borrowers, the Biden-Harris Administration has implemented a series of complementary initiatives, including substantial increases in Pell Grants, comprehensive reforms to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, and targeted debt relief initiatives tailored to alleviate the financial burdens faced by borrowers experiencing financial hardship.

According to data from the Institute for College Access and Success, New Hampshire consistently ranks among the top states in the nation for average student debt. In recent years, the average debt burden for New Hampshire college graduates has exceeded the national average, placing significant financial strain on individuals and families across the state.

State Sen. David Watters echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the significance of federal support in providing life-changing relief for Granite Staters. 

“Democrats in the state legislature are committed to supporting New Hampshire families and are fortunate to have federal partners like the Biden Administration who are making history and improving the lives of thousands of Granite Staters,” said Watters.

Under the Biden-Harris Administration’s SAVE plan, 85 percent of future community college borrowers will be debt-free within 10 years. The Department will continue to regularly identify and discharge other borrowers eligible for relief under this provision on SAVE.

The New Hampshire Higher Education Assistance Foundation reports that approximately 76% of New Hampshire students graduate with some form of student loan debt, highlighting the pervasive nature of this issue within the state’s higher education landscape. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing challenges, leading to heightened concerns about student loan repayment and financial stability among recent graduates and young professionals in New Hampshire.

Author

  • Colin Booth

    Based in Epsom, Colin Booth is Granite Post's political correspondent. A Granite State native and veteran political professional with a deep background in journalism, he's worked on campaigns and programs in battleground states across the country, ranging from New Hampshire, Texas, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C.

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