Biden’s Team Erases $5.8 Billion in Student Debt for Borrowers With Severe Disabilities

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Here’s a measure of hope after an excruciating week: The Biden administration is waiving $5.8 billion in student loan debt for 323,000 borrowers with severe disabilities, a significant step in a disability rights movement gaining momentum across the United States.

The action “removes a major barrier that prevented far too many borrowers with disabilities from receiving the total and permanent disability discharges they are entitled to under the law,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement Thursday.

This deserves parsing for how far it goes and doesn’t, how delayed but welcome it is, and how politically energizing it is for advocates of education as a human right. (More on that here.) But after a news cycle as acutely felt as this—the disintegration of Afghanistan, the earthquake in Haiti, wildfires’ surge, anti-vaxxers’ obstinance, Karl Rove’s resurgence—this is certainly good news.

Share more at recharge@motherjones.com. And be sure to visit the National Center on Disability and Journalism’s page for periodic posts on how disability experiences and outcomes are affected by the pandemic, including Susan LoTempio’s excellent summary the other day of how outdoor dining—on the rise—can crowd city sidewalks that are vital ​to a range of people with vision and mobility disabilities. Challenges remain, but chronicling them is expertly done by the team at NCDJ. Bookmark away.

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