The U.S. Department of Education will hold virtual public hearings starting today on student loan cancellation and other issues related to student loan repayment. The three-day hearings will encourage stakeholders — including you — to provide feedback and help shape rulemaking around the future of student loan forgiveness. The hearings follow a major announcement from President Joe Biden to enact $500 million of student loan cancellation. With this latest announcement on student loans, Biden has now cancelled $3 billion of student loans. Through the hearings, you can provide input on a host of issues related to your student loans, including, among other topics:
“The Department of Education’s primary responsibility is to serve students and borrowers,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said. “That means taking a fresh look at a range of regulations to make sure they are not creating unnecessary barriers, but instead can ensure that institutions and programs serve our students well.”
Student loan cancellation: what to expect
You can expect the hearings to address multiple topics that will help decide which rules and regulations apply to your student loans. This could include who qualifies for student loan cancellation and what are the requirements. The Education Department’s goal is to help student loan borrowers with student loan repayment, while also protecting them from misleading information and harmful practices that could hurt their employment prospects or higher education goals. This includes comments on regulations that would address student loan repayment and student loan default as well retention and completion. The Education Department will also encourage public comments related to disparate impacts in higher education related to income, race/ethnicity, gender, and other demographic characteristics that can improve outcomes for students and student loan borrowers. This has been a major issue, particularly with student loan cancellation, as Senators Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) have articulated.
Student loans: how to make comments
How can you participate in the public hearings on student loans? The hearings will take place June 21, 23 and 24 from 10 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. Eastern time. If you would like to make comments at the public hearings, you must register by sending an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to 12:00 p.m. Eastern on the business day prior to the public hearing at which you wish to speak. In your email, make sure to include your name, email address, the topic you plan to address, and at least two dates and times when you prefer to speak. You will have up to five minutes to provide your comments. If you don’t want to make any comments, you can still attend the virtual public hearings on student loans.
Student loans: next steps
Will your student loans get cancelled? Importantly, these are not hearings to determine wide-scale student loan cancellation. Those considerations are being addressed separately between the White House and the Education Department as well as through proposals for student loan forgiveness in Congress. These hearings will address existing student loan forgiveness and how to improve outcomes for student loan borrowers. These hearings are only the beginning of the process. Yes, there can be changes to student loan cancellation and student loan repayment, but they can take time. Specifically, there could be changes that could make it easier for student loan borrowers to get student loan forgiveness through borrower defense to repayment and potentially income-driven repayment, among other changes. However, don’t expect any changes to student loan cancellation until at least 2022.
As Washington debates the future of student loans, make sure you understand all your options for student loan repayment. Here are some smart ways to save money: