4 Charts That Show What Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Means for America

Like crumbling infrastructure or rising gas prices, student loan forgiveness is one of those far-reaching political issues that affect a huge swath of Americans.

Close to 1 in 5 Americans have student loans. That’s some 45 million people with a combined $1.75 trillion in student loan debt.

The Biden administration’s forgiveness plan is expected to have far-reaching impact.

The plan is a long time coming: President Biden first promised to forgive at least $10,000 in student loan debt on the campaign trail in early 2020 and made the same promise after he won the election in November 2020.

The Rising Cost of Tuition has Made It Harder for Students and Families to Pay for College

Over the past several decades, the cost of attending college in the U.S. has steadily risen largely due to a reduction of state funding, an increase in university amenities, and unprecedented demand from prospective students.

Tuition at private, nonprofit institutions increased more than tuition at public schools during this time period.

Average Federal Loan Packages Have Grown Faster Than the Average Grant Size

If a student doesn’t want to take on debt, federal grants—financial aid that doesn’t need to be repaid—are an attractive alternative.

The problem? The amount of federal grant money available to students hasn’t kept up with continually increasing tuition or with the growth of federal loans.

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