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Biden’s new plans for widespread student loan forgiveness: What we know so far

The administration is looking at other options for debt forgiveness but don’t expect it to come before the next presidential election.

What happens to the 16 million borrowers approved for student loan forgiveness?

The original plans for student debt cancellation may be dead but don’t rule it out of the future. At least, those are the sounds coming out of President Biden’s camp.

Using a process called negotiated rulemaking, the Education Department will bring together a wide range of voices to craft its new policy.

What is negotiated rulemaking?

Also known as 'neg reg', the process is used by government agencies to develop and revise regulations or rules.

This process is designed to form policy through consensus-building, especially when the policy impacts various stakeholders. 

However, this will take a long time. In 2018, this method took two years for the effort to come to a final decision. This means a ruling could come after the 2024 presidential election with more promises by Joe Biden on student debt that may ultimately be unfulfilled.

What is the Biden Administration putting forward?

At present, nothing. The negotiated rulemaking process will begin in October with a fourteen-strong committee. The Department has asked for individuals to contact them by email at negregnominations@ed.gov.

There is a large amount of people the Department wants to involve:

Who does the Department of Education want on the committee?

  • Student loan borrowers who attended programs of
    two years or less.
  • Student loan borrowers who attended four-year programs.
  • Student loan borrowers who attended graduate programs.
  • Currently enrolled postsecondary education students.
  • US military service members, veterans, or
    groups representing them.
  • Civil rights organizations.
  • Legal assistance organizations that represent students or borrowers.
  • State officials, including State higher education executive officers, State authorizing agencies, and State
    regulators of institutions of higher education.
  • State attorneys general.
  • Public institutions of higher education,
    including two-year and four-year institutions.
  • Private nonprofit institutions of higher
  • Proprietary institutions.
  • Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, and Minority-serving
    institutions (institutions of higher education eligible to receive Federal assistance under title III, parts A and F, and title V of the HEA).
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) lenders, servicers, or guaranty agencies.

After the members have been selected, the committee will meet virtually on 10-11 October, 6-7 November and 11-12 December to discuss ideas for regulatory reform. The meetings will be open to the public.