Denver – Today, Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet released the following statement on President Joe Biden’s student loan plan:
"Time and again, Coloradans have told me how student loans have made their lives miserable. They've devastated their credit scores, made it harder to purchase homes, start a business, or pay for childcare – and this crisis is only growing.
“That’s why in June, I urged President Biden to target relief to those who need it most, provide additional relief to Pell grant recipients, and enact long-term reforms to this broken system.
"In my view, the administration should have further targeted the relief, and proposed a way to pay for this plan. While immediate relief to families is important, one-time debt cancellation does not solve the underlying problem. So I'm pleased to see reforms to income-driven repayment plans and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
“Moving forward, we need to reform the system that got us here in the first place with solutions to bring down the absurd cost of college. We cannot continue to trap another generation of Americans in this cruel cycle. And we need to continue our work to build career pathways to economic security for every American, including those who choose not to pursue a two or four-year degree."
In June, Bennet spoke on the Senate floor to urge long-term solutions to America’s student loan system and new measures to drive economic opportunity for all, especially for Americans who do not attend or graduate from college. Bennet proposed:
- $10,000 in targeted relief for low- and middle-income households, phasing out as incomes rise.
- Additional debt relief for low-income borrowers who received Pell grants or were eligible for, but not enrolled in, income-driven repayment plans.
- Strengthening the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program by expanding the program so more borrowers can enroll, partly or fully forgiving loans of public servants after 5 years, instead of the required 10 years, and continuing efforts to cut red tape and expedite forgiveness for qualifying public service workers.
- Strengthening Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) options by simplifying IDR to make plans easier to access and providing relief retroactively for low-income borrowers who qualified for the program but were not enrolled.
- Increasing the maximum Pell grant so Americans do not need to take out high levels of debt to receive a post-secondary degree.
- Strengthening workforce training so Americans do not need a college degree to learn the skills to earn a living wage.
- Supporting partnerships with the private sector and labor that provide high school students with a paid apprenticeship and a full-time job that pays a living wage upon graduation.
Yesterday, Bennet joined a group of his colleagues to call on the Biden Administration to extend the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) waiver deadline until at least July 1, 2023, which is when the Department’s proposed rules to improve and expand federal student debt relief for programs like PSLF will take effect.
In March, Bennet called on President Joe Biden to extend the pause on student loan repayment until December 31, 2022 as the families and the economy continue to recover from the pandemic. Bennet also asked President Biden to work with leaders of both parties to develop long-term solutions to the U.S. student loan debt crisis. Following Bennet’s request, the president extended the moratorium until August 2022.