- 22 GOP state governors urged Biden to withdraw his student-loan forgiveness plan.
- The White House just released state-by-state data on how many borrowers could be eligible for relief.
- Millions of borrowers would likely qualify for the debt cancellation in the 22 GOP-led states.
Newly released data revealed the benefits of President Joe Biden's student-loan forgiveness plan could be far-reaching in the Republican-led states trying to block the policy.
Just over a month after Biden announced up to $20,000 in student-debt relief for federal borrowers making under $125,000 a year, the White House on Tuesday released state-by-state estimates on how many borrowers could be eligible for the relief. In 11 states, over 1 million borrowers are projected to be eligible for the loan forgiveness, per the data, with California leading the list at 3.5 million borrowers.
"I've always maintained that data drives everything, and that's why this announcement today, and this data release, is just so essential," Massachusetts Rep. Ayanna Pressley said during a Tuesday press call. "I'll be honest, I was emotional walking through these numbers with my team, recognizing that behind every number, there is a person, there's a family, there's a story here."
But some Republican politicians might not see it quite that way. On September 12, 22 GOP governors sent a letter to Biden urging him to "withdraw your student loan plan immediately," arguing that the policy is costly, illegal, and unfair to those who already paid off their loans.
"For many borrowers, they worked hard, made sacrifices, and paid off their debt. For many others, they chose hard work and a paycheck rather than more school and a loan. Americans who did not choose to take out student loans themselves should certainly not be forced to pay for the student loans of others," they wrote.
Here's how many student-loan borrowers would benefit from Biden's debt relief in each of those 22 states:
- Alabama: 588,000
- Alaska: 60,500
- Arizona: 810,800
- Arkansas: 365,600
- Florida: 2,427,600
- Georgia: 1,506,100
- Idaho: 201,400
- Iowa: 408,700
- Maryland: 747,100
- Missouri: 777,300
- Montana: 120,400
- Nebraska: 232,100
- New Hampshire: 175,100
- North Dakota: 82,000
- Ohio: 1,677,800
- Oklahoma: 454,300
- South Carolina: 681,100
- South Dakota: 109,100
- Tennessee: 795,300
- Texas: 3,323,200
- Utah: 282,700
- Wyoming: 49,600
An Education Department official told reporters on Tuesday that the administration arrived at those estimates by using "commonly employed statistical techniques" to estimate borrowers' income, along with census data that has detailed information on income for specific groups of people.
Since Biden announced his relief, Republicans have been pushing back on the policy — some have even expressed intent to block the loan forgiveness in court. But the Biden administration maintains it has the legal standing to carry out this one-time blanket relief and is moving forward with implementation, planning to make an application for relief available in early October.
"The analysis we are releasing today tells us that President Biden's debt relief plan will touch working families in every corner of the state of the country, in red states and blue states and everywhere in between, states and big cities, sprawling suburbs, tribal lands and remote rural towns," Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal told reporters. "Nearly 20 million borrowers will have their entire balances discharged, others will benefit from lower balances and lower payments."