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The Editors

Biden Is Making the Student Loan Mess Worse

Extending the student-loan repayment freeze will cheer borrowers, but the rest of the country will bear the costs. 

Biden’s plan offers the worst of all worlds.

Biden’s plan offers the worst of all worlds.

Photographer: David Odisho/Bloomberg

President Joe Biden has often described his plan to cancel some federal student-loan debts as a “game changer.” In one sense, this policy has indeed proved transformative — by making a bad system worse.

Biden’s plan provides $10,000 in relief to individual borrowers with annual incomes of $125,000 a year or less, or $250,000 for married couples. Since August, the government has approved 16 million applications for loan forgiveness — more than one-third of the total number of borrowers — but legal challenges have put the program on hold. Earlier this month, a federal appeals court ruled in favor of six Republican-led states that opposed granting loan forgiveness while litigation is ongoing. The White House has asked the Supreme Court to take up the case, which means the issue is likely to remain unresolved for months.