Student loans totaling $9.5 billion are getting canceled. Here’s who gets it

BY Lance LambertSeptember 07, 2021, 11:00 PM
Vice President Kamala Harris looks on as President Joe Biden takes a question from a reporter, as seen in August 2021. (Kent Nishimura—Los Angeles Times/Getty Images)

Since taking power, the Biden-Harris administration has issued four rounds of student loan forgiveness—including two more announcements last month.

In total, those four rounds issued by the U.S. Department of Education amount to $9.5 billion in loans that will be discharged for 563,000 borrowers. On one hand, it’s relatively small (less than 1% of all U.S. student loan debt). On the other hand, the Biden camp is clearly getting more aggressive on the forgiveness front than its predecessors.

But who will actually get their student loan debt wiped out in the coming months? To answer the question, Fortune built the following guide.

Defrauded borrowers

This year, the Department of Education has issued four rounds of forgiveness. Three of those are targeted at borrowers who attended schools that misled students.

The first round came in March, when the Department of Education announced it would forgive student loans of borrowers who had approved “borrower defense to repayment” claims. An approved claim means the government determined the borrower attended a school that took part in deceptive or illegal practices. That included alumni of Corinthian Colleges, ITT Technical Institute, and American Career Institute. Around 72,000 borrowers holding $1 billion in student loan debt qualified for that round. You can find more information on that round at this link.

In July, the Department of Education announced that it would broaden that debt cancellation to 1,800 more borrowers with approved borrower defense claims who attended Court Reporting Institute, Marinello Schools of Beauty, or Westwood College. Those troubled schools were also determined to have used deceptive practices. For more information on eligibility for that round, go here.

Then, in August, the Department of Education once again announced a round of forgiveness aimed at “defrauded” students. The round issued in March for ITT students didn’t include all former enrollees. This latest round expanded forgiveness to include dropouts of ITT (on or after March 31, 2008). For more details, go here.

Disabled borrowers

Last month, the U.S. Department of Education announced it will cancel $5.8 billion in student loans held by over 323,000 borrowers who have a total and permanent disability (TPD).

We knew this was coming. But the announcement finally gave clarity on how the forgiveness would work.

It’s pretty straightforward: The agency says the discharge will be “automatic.” The Department of Education will access borrowers’ Social Security Administration records to identify those who are listed as disabled. Then the agency will discharge the loans in September. For more details, go here.

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