WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is nearing a decision on whether to cancel some federal student debt, and multiple media reports say the announcement will come as soon as Wednesday.
The expected announcement comes just one week before the yearslong pause on federal student loan payments is set to expire on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
According to Bloomberg, which was first to report the news, the expected Wednesday announcement will likely include at least a brief extension on the payment pause and some debt cancellation. The White House has kept details tightly under wraps.
The Washington Post, CNN and NBC News cited sources who said White House discussions have recently centered on canceling $10,000 per borrower for those who make below a certain income threshold. The Washington Post's sources said the president hadn't communicated a decision yet.
While Biden had previously said he would make an announcement on student loan forgiveness by the end of the month, the White House has insisted that the president had yet to make a final decision.
The president and first lady are scheduled to return to the White House on Wednesday from their beach home in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.
What has Biden said on student loans?
Biden previously said he supports canceling up to $10,000, but he argued it should be done through congressional action. Negotiations have stretched on for months, with some Democrats calling on the president to do more and Republicans opposing mass debt cancellation efforts.
The White House has said Biden will make a decision on student loan forgiveness by the end of August, after the president initially said in April he’d announce a decision within a “couple of weeks.”
So far, the Biden administration has taken a more targeted approach to debt cancellation, focusing largely on students who were 'misled' by for-profit colleges.
More than 43 million Americans owe a combined $1.6 trillion in student debt held by the federal government, according to recent data from the Education Department. That includes more than 7 million borrowers who have defaulted on student loans, meaning they are at least 270 days late on payments.