Credit: Illustration by Chris Allen, BVN

Last Updated on August 25, 2022 by BVN

Kenneth Kipruto |

Tens of millions of Americans are due to benefit from student loan debt relief after the White House announced yesterday that it will cancel $10,000 in debt for those earning less than $125,000 in income annually.

In addition to this, the Biden-Harris Administration also announced it will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients. 

The debt-relief, one of President Joe Biden’s key campaign pledges, will see the balance of the typical Black borrower cut nearly in half, the White House said. More than one in four Black borrowers will see their balance forgiven altogether.

In a statement before the Presidential address yesterday, senior administration officials said that about one in four Black Americans currently have negative net worth — meaning their total debt exceeds their total assets. The first $10,000 of debt relief would move over half a million Black Americans from negative to positive net worth.

“All this means people can start finally crawling up from under that mountain of debt, to get on top of their rent and utilities, to finally think about buying a home or starting a family, starting a business,” the President said. “When this happens, the whole economy is better off.”

President Biden announcing details to the Student Loan Debt Relief Plan. (source

Up to 90 percent of relief dollars will go to borrowers earning less than $75,000 per year. The administration projects that up to 43 million federal student loan borrowers (95% of all federal student loan borrowers) will be eligible to receive loan forgiveness.

Of those, 20 million are eligible to have their debt completely canceled. It is estimated that one in five Americans (about 45 million people) have student loans amounting to roughly $1.6 trillion cumulatively.

The senior administration officials, who held a background briefing to discuss the student loans announcement, said the first $10,000 of relief would reduce the balances of Hispanic borrowers by 52 percent.

One in three Hispanic borrowers will see their balances entirely forgiven.

“We expect up to 43 million federal student loan borrowers to receive forgiveness, with the most relief reaching borrowers who need it the most,” the statement said.  

 The Biden-Harris Administration said it will soon be releasing more information on how would-be beneficiaries will see if they qualify for the relief and how to sign up. To be notified automatically when new information is available, one can sign up at

Current students with loans are eligible for debt relief, provided those loans originated prior to July 1, 2022. Dependent students who were enrolled in school during the last award year qualify if their parents’ household income was under $250,000.

Yesterday, President Biden also announced that a pandemic-era pause on student loan payments would expire at the end of the year. The pause has been in effect since March 2020 when the world was hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, leading to job losses, salary cuts and loss of business.

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Kenneth Kipruto

Kenneth Kipruto, a multimedia journalist and assistant editor with the Black Voice News and the IE Voice, covers the environment, climate change and health.