The Office of Federal Student Aid within the Department of Education has retroactively waived interest on loans held by over 47,000 service members, the latest in a series of steps the Biden administration has taken toward widespread forgiveness of student loans.
The Department of Education's announcement was facilitated by a data-matching agreement with the Department of Defense that improved access to interest-waiver benefits for many military members with student loans. The benefit will apply to service members who were deployed to areas of imminent danger or who were subjected to hostile fire and took out student loans on or after Oct. 1, 2008.
This offer was previously available to service members only after they requested it, along with providing additional information. Now, the offer will apply automatically without any action from the service member.
Richard Cordray, the FSA chief operating officer, said the decision will help service members in both defending the country and earning their education.
"Brave men and women in uniform serving our country can now focus on doing their jobs and coming home safely, not filling out more paperwork to access their hard-earned benefits," Cordray said. "Federal Student Aid is grateful for our strong partnership with the Department of Defense, and we will seek to reduce red tape for service members wherever possible."
For college students, the average percent of student loan interest rates in 2021 can be anywhere from 4%-7%, according to financial services company Credible. These interest rates can greatly increase student debt, especially since the average amount that students owe in student debt is nearly $40,000, per First Republic Bank.
The interest loan waiver marks another step that Democrats have taken toward the elimination of student debt. On Thursday, the Education Department announced it would grant more than 323,000 students with total and permanent disabilities $5.8 billion in student loan discharges.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden extended coronavirus student loan relief to the end of January 2022, with the president also saying in April that he was looking into executive authority to cancel student debt.
Student debt in the United States topped $1 trillion in 2021, according to multiple outlets.
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Original Author: Asher Notheis
Original Location: Education Department waives loan interests for over 47,000 service members