More than 1 million Kansans, Missourians eligible for debt relief


Attorney General Merrick Garland, left, and Kansas City Interim Police Chief Joe Mabin listened as President Joe Biden spoke in the Rose Garden of the White House in May during an event to highlight state and local leaders who are investing American Rescue Plan funding.


More than 1 million residents in Kansas and Missouri will be eligible for student loan relief under a new proposal by the Biden administration to forgive up to $10,000 in student loan debt.

The White House announced Tuesday that 777,300 Missourians will be eligible to have up to $10,000 of their debt erased. Of that number, 502,200 Pell Grant recipients — a grant offered to some of the country’s most financially needy students — will be eligible to have up to $20,000 erased.

In Kansas, 360,900 people will be eligible to have up to $10,000 erased and 225,500 Pell Grant recipients will be eligible.

The more than 1 million people eligible to have some of their student loan debt between the two states shows the potential impact of a program that the Biden administration estimates will affect around 40 million Americans and completely erase the debt of 20 million Americans.

But the proposal has met resistance from some Republicans, who have challenged the concept of forgiving debt for people who have college degrees. Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt, who is the Republican nominee for U.S. Senate in Missouri, has participated in discussions with other state attorneys general to challenge the program in court.

The Biden administration is using a provision that allows the executive branch to make changes to the country’s student loan program during a national emergency. They’re tying the debt forgiveness program to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

No lawsuit has been filed by the Republican attorneys general so far.

The program is available to people who make less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 if they are married. The Biden administration estimates that 90 percent of the money will go to people who make less than $75,000.

The application for people to apply to have their debt forgiven will open in early October and the government is recommending that people submit their application before November 15, 2022. The Department of Education has a website where people can sign up to be notified when the application is open.

Daniel Desrochers covers Washington, D.C. for the Kansas City Star. He previously covered politics and government for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Kentucky and the Charleston Gazette-Mail in Charleston, West Virginia.

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