Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) have received a lot of praise and criticism, depending on whom you ask, for their plans to cancel federal student loan debt. But a careful look at the platform advanced by Democrats’ allegedly “moderate” candidate for president, Joe Biden, shows he’s got a costly debt cancellation plan of his own.
Unlike many of the plans put forward by Biden’s challengers, the former vice president’s proposal seems to have been deliberately designed in such a manner that most wouldn’t realize its extreme and far-reaching effects.
Instead of immediately cancelling debt, Biden’s proposal would alter existing student loan forgiveness programs to eliminate billions in student loan debt decades in the future, potentially affecting millions of borrowers.
Here’s how it would work: Under current law, borrowers with federal student loans (most current students and recent college graduates) who are enrolled in income-based repayment plans receive student loan forgiveness after 20–25 years of making payments. The amount of years required varies with the repayment plan.