Education Department works to rally support for Biden’s SAVE student loan repayment plan

The Department of Education is putting a marketing campaign for its new income-driven student loan repayment plan into overdrive, amid mounting criticism from the right – and some on the left.

Department officials announced Tuesday they’re partnering with more than 100 organizations across the country to get the word out about the administration’s “Saving on A Valuable Education,” or SAVE, plan. It’s the “most affordable repayment plan ever,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on a call with reporters. More than 4 million borrowers have already enrolled in the plan. Another million have applied.

“But we need all hands on deck to reach the millions of additional borrowers who stand to gain,” he said. The campaign will reach about 18 million Americans, he said.

The plan caps accruing interest for borrowers who stay on top of their payments and broadly decreases monthly payments. Americans making less than $15 an hour won’t have to make any payments at all, according to the department.

Millions hope to use Biden’s SAVE plan to relieve student debt, even as some in GOP try to stop it

The campaign folds into the administration’s response to the Supreme Court’s rebuke of President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan earlier this summer. That plan would have absolved up to $20,000 in debt for millions of borrowers, but the court ruled in June, along ideological lines, that the administration overstepped its authority by proposing widespread forgiveness.

“This fight is not over,” Biden said after the decision came down.

The effort is also part of the department’s response to the resumption of student loan repayments, which resume in October for the first time since a pandemic-related pause in March 2020. Interest on student loan debt, also paused since then, began accruing again this month. James Kvaal, the undersecretary of education, acknowledged Tuesday that a tough reality is setting in for millions of Americans. More than 28 million people will owe payments in October, he said – five times more than typically enter repayment in an entire year.

“No question, this is a big job,” he told reporters. “From the borrowers I talk to, there’s a lot of confusion; there’s a lot of anxiety.”

Biden’s SAVE plan for student loans: It may seem confusing. Here’s how to use it.

The Education Department’s show of unity on what it has billed as the most affordable student loan repayment plan comes at the same time some advocacy groups, and some GOP lawmakers, have been sharply critical of it.

This week, for example, borrowers are being encouraged to test the SAVE plan by simultaneously calling student loan servicers “to make sure its working for borrowers.”

And last week, a group of GOP senators and House members filed legislation aiming to force a vote on the SAVE plan, saying SAVE is unfair to other Americans without student loan debt.

Zachary Schermele is a breaking news and education reporter for USA Today. You can reach him by email at Follow him on X at @ZachSchermele.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden’s SAVE student loan plan boosted by Education Department

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