For the past several weeks, Schumer has been ramping up pressure on President Joe Biden to forgive up to $50,000 worth of federal student loan debt using executive action. Although Biden advocated for broad student debt cancellation as a presidential candidate, he has not delivered on his campaign promise since taking office.
While Schumer and several other outspoken progressives have been advocating for Biden to lean on his executive authority to forgive student loans, the White House recently said that the president is waiting on Congress to deliver on student forgiveness legislation.
Keep reading to learn more about the likelihood of widespread student loan forgiveness, as well as your alternative loan repayment options like refinancing. You can see your estimated student loan refi rates on Credible for free without impacting your credit score.
According to the Higher Education Act of 1965, the Secretary of Education has the legal authority to “enforce, pay, compromise, waive, or release any right” to collect on federal loans, but it’s unclear whether that includes widespread debt forgiveness.
Although Schumer and other prominent lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Elizabeth Warren have urged Biden to cancel student loan debt, not all Democrats are in agreement that the president can do so.
Biden himself has cast doubt on his power to cancel student loans — White House press secretary Jen Psaki recently told reporters that the president was waiting on a bill from Congress. She also added that Biden’s presidential authority to cancel student loans was “under review.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has also previously said that the president doesn’t have the authority to forgive student loans, adding that it “has to be an act of Congress.”
Passing student loan forgiveness legislation through a divided Congress would be a difficult task. Democrats hold a narrow 50-50 majority in the Senate, which means they would need the support of moderates like Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in order to cancel student debt.