(The Hill) — The Department of Education has announced that it has provided more than $10 billion in student debt relief for public workers 10 months into a new program.
The relief covers more than 175,000 people, according to a news release the department put out on Tuesday. The relief is provided through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF).
The effort comes as the White House is broadly expected to announce a new forgiveness program on Wednesday that would wipe out $10,000 in student debt for eligible borrowers. The program is expected to have income limits.
The decision has been hotly anticipated but is likely to set off a political storm, which President Biden potentially coming under criticism both from Republicans opposed to the debt forgiveness who say it will raise inflation and liberals who do not think it goes far enough.
The Education Department announced temporary changes to the PSLF program last October. It allowed borrowers to get credit for payments made on loans from different student loan programs, and borrowers who work or worked in the public service field since 2007 to be eligible to receive these benefits.
In a statement, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said that the PSLF program will be beneficial for public service workers who have seen previous installments of the program not benefit them.
“We’re committed to helping borrowers who choose to pursue careers in education, public health, social work, law enforcement, and other critical fields receive the benefits to which they’re entitled for leading lives of service,” he said.
This comes as President Joe Biden is expected to announce on Wednesday the cancellation of student loan debts and an extension of the existing payment pause.
The intended measure will include $10,000 in loan forgiveness for borrowers who make less than $125,000 annually, which would be the largest loan forgiveness of student loans per borrower in history, and an extension of the payment pause for at least four months.
The PSLF program is also a part of the $32 billion of student loans already forgiven by the Biden administration through existing federal programs.
Eligible borrowers have until Oct. 31 to apply to consolidate their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan and qualify for the PSLF program.