SBPC, UC Irvine Law School Co-Host Conference to Highlight Policies, Proposals and Ideas for President Biden to Cancel Student Debt
December 16, 2021 | WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the Student Borrower Protection Center, as part of the Student Loan Law Initiative at University of California, Irvine School of Law, released a report, Revisiting Debt Relief, featuring contributions from leading student loan experts scoring the Biden administration’s efforts to deliver student debt relief in its first year. While over 650,000 borrowers have had their student debts eliminated, tens of millions more are struggling under the weight of debts that the Biden administration has pledged to cancel. The contributions to this report build on last year’s policy playbook, Delivering on Debt Relief, which demonstrated how President Biden could leverage existing programs to cancel student debt.
With the pause of federal student loan payments set to end on January 31, 2022, the stakes have never been higher for student loan borrowers. Despite broad-based and bipartisan support for extending the payment pause, tens of millions of borrowers are set to enter repayment in six weeks while facing an uneven economy, resurging pandemic, widespread servicing transfers, and major changes across the student loan system. At the same time, mounting evidence shows that the student loan system continues to trap millions of borrowers who should be eligible for debt cancellation under existing law.
“As families struggle under the strain of the surging pandemic and historic inflation, the prospect of an unaffordable student loan bill looms large,” said Mike Pierce, executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center. “While progress has been made by the Biden administration over the last year to cancel student debt and reform the broken system, millions of borrowers and families continue to struggle, making clear more work has to be done.”
One Year Later: Revisiting Debt Relief
The papers contained in this new report look at the range of existing debt relief programs that promise relief to people with student debt, examining changes made or proposed in the past year, and offering recommendations for how the Administration can leverage these programs to keep its promise to cancel student debt.
- Revisiting Relief for Borrowers Waiting for Income-Driven Repayment
Persis Yu, Policy Director & Managing Counsel, SBPC
- Revisiting Relief for Borrowers with a Defense to Repayment
Eileen Connor, Director, Harvard’s Project on Predatory Student Lending
- Revisiting Relief for Public Service Workers
Mike Pierce, Executive Director, SBPC
- Revisiting Relief for Borrowers With Disabilities
Bethany Lilly, Director of Income Policy, The Arc of the United States & John Whitelaw, Advocacy Director, Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (Delaware)
- Revisiting Relief for Students Harmed by School Closures
Robyn Smith, Of Counsel, National Consumer Law Center
- Revisiting Relief for Borrowers Who Fall Through the Cracks in Discharge Programs
Winston Berkman-Breen, Policy Counsel, SBPC & Claire Torchiana, Counsel, SBPC
- Revisiting Relief for the Taxation of Student Loan Discharge and Cancellation
John R. Brooks, Professor of Law, Fordham School of Law
One year ago, the SBPC joined with Demos to release a policy playbook for the new administration to take executive action and cancel student debt. This report, Delivering on Debt Relief, served as a roadmap for several high-profile initiatives adopted during the Biden Administration’s first year. The proposals in the report drove efforts to cancel student debt for public service workers, borrowers with total and permanent disabilities, students defrauded by for-profit schools and more. Taken together, the ideas, plans, and actions published in the playbook have shaped policies that have canceled more than $12 billion dollars in debt for nearly 650,000 student loan borrowers nationwide.
Convening Government Leaders, Advocates, and Scholars to Score the Biden Administration’s Progress
In conjunction with the release of this report, today, the Student Loan Law Initiative, a joint project of the Student Borrower Protection Center and the University of California, Irvine School of Law, is hosting a virtual event examining the Biden administration’s work to address the student debt crisis, lessons learned from various debt relief measures, and what must be done to stand up for borrowers in the year ahead.
This event will feature a keynote address from Massachusetts Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and a conversation with Deputy Under Secretary of Education Julie Morgan, as well as a panel of advocates, experts, and scholars.
More information about this event, Delivering on Debt Relief: Scoring the Biden Administration’s Progress and Building a Roadmap for 2022, is available here:
This paper series and conference are part of the Student Loan Law Initiative, a partnership between the Student Borrower Protection Center and the University of California, Irvine School of Law to develop a body of rigorous research around how to address the student loan crisis.
The Student Borrower Protection Center is a nonprofit organization focused on alleviating the burden of student debt for millions of Americans. The SBPC engages in advocacy, policymaking, and litigation strategy to rein in industry abuses, protect borrowers’ rights, and advance economic opportunity for the next generation of students.