GOP Opposes Student-Debt Relief in States Where Millions Could Benefit

  • Twenty-two Republican governors have urged Biden to withdraw his student loan forgiveness plan.
  • The White House just released state-by-state data on how many borrowers qualify for relief.
  • In 22 Republican-led states, millions of borrowers could be eligible for debt cancellation.

The benefits of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program could have far-reaching ramifications for Republican-led states trying to block the policy, newly released data show.

The White House announcement on Tuesday comes just over a month after Biden announced up to $20,000 in student debt relief for federal borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year. State-by-state estimates About how many borrowers are eligible for relief. In 11 states, more than 1 million borrowers are expected to qualify for loan forgiveness, with California leading the way with 3.5 million borrowers, according to the data.

“I’ve always believed that data drives everything, which is why today’s announcement and data release is so important,” Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley said at a news conference on Tuesday. “Honestly, I was thrilled as I went through the numbers with my team and realized that behind every number there is a person, there’s a family, there’s a story here.”

But some Republican politicians may not see it that way. On Sept. 12, 22 Republican governors wrote to Biden urging him to “immediately withdraw the student loan program,” saying the policy is costly, illegal and unfair to those who have already paid off their loans.

“For many borrowers, they worked hard, made sacrifices, and paid off their debt. For many others, they chose hard work and paychecks over more school and loans. No option to apply on their own Americans with student loans should certainly not be forced to pay someone else’s student loan,” they wrote.

Here’s how many student loan borrowers in these 22 states will benefit from Biden’s debt relief:

  • Alabama: 588,000
  • Alaska: 60,500
  • Arizona: 810,800
  • Arkansas: 365,600
  • Florida: 2,427,600
  • Georgia: 1,506,100
  • Idaho: 201,400
  • Iowa: 408,700
  • Maryland: 747,100
  • Missouri: 777,300
  • Montana: 120,400
  • Nebraska: 232,100
  • New Hampshire: 175,100
  • North Dakota: 82,000
  • Ohio: 1,677,800
  • Oklahoma: 454,300
  • South Carolina: 681,100
  • South Dakota: 109,100
  • Tennessee: 795,300
  • Texas: 3,323,200
  • Utah: 282,700
  • Wyoming: 49,600

The government arrived at those estimates by using “common statistical techniques” to estimate borrowers’ income, as well as census data that contains detailed information on incomes for specific groups of people, an education ministry official told reporters on Tuesday.

Since Biden announced forgiveness, Republicans have opposed the policy — some even expressed their intention to block loan forgiveness in court. But the Biden administration insists it has the legal standing to enforce the one-time blanket relief and is moving forward with it, planning to file an application for relief in early October.

“The analysis we’re releasing today tells us that President Biden’s debt relief plan will reach working families in every corner of the country, in red and blue states, and everywhere in between states and big cities, sprawling suburbs, tribal lands and remote rural towns,” Deputy Education Minister James Kwaal told reporters. “The full balance of nearly 20 million borrowers will be fully repaid, and the rest will benefit from lower balances and lower payments.”

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