President Joe Biden recently announced his plan to forgive student loan debt of up to $10,000 for qualified individuals who make less than $125,000 a year.
In keeping with my campaign promise, my Administration is announcing a plan to give working and middle class families breathing room as they prepare to resume federal student loan payments in January 2023.
Mainstream media are not reporting that President Biden played a significant role in creating the current student debt crisis dating back to the 1970s. During his time as a senator, he supported several bills that contributed to the rise in borrowing, which reached $12 billion in 1989 from $1.8 billion in 1977. Through easing loan eligibility requirements, he made it easier for students and parents to take out burdensome loans.
Early in his senatorial career, Biden played a role in making it easier for students and parents to take out burdensome loans, spanning across several decades. Later, his landmark bankruptcy reform legislation made it nearly impossible to discharge student loans, birthing a predatory industry and sinking millions into unsustainable levels of debt.
In 1978, Biden supported the Middle Income Student Assistance Act, which eliminated income restrictions on federal loans to expand eligibility to all students. Biden helped write a separate bill that year blocking students from seeking bankruptcy protections on those loans after graduation. (The income restrictions on federal loans were reinstated in 1981.) Then he went on to vote to create the Parent Loan for Undergraduate Students, or PLUS, program in 1980 and the Auxiliary Loans to Assist Students, or ALAS, program in 1981, which extended loan eligibility to students with no parental financial support.
He, however, described student loan forgiveness as something that would benefit wealthy students during the Democratic primary.
“I don’t think you should be paying for my son [Hunter] going to Yale Law School. I don’t think you should be paying for my daughter [Ashley] to go to the University of Pennsylvania,” he said at a campaign stop in New Hampshire, according to a Washington Post reporter. “I do think we should make it more affordable to attend school.” The reporter clarified in a follow-up tweet that Biden was specifically referring to loan forgiveness and not the related debate about tuition-free college.
Michael Price is a Founder and editor for ThinkCivics. He has been writing about politics, government, and culture for over a decade. He has a BA in Political Science and an Masters in Public Administration.