Padilla Hosts Virtual Federal Student Debt Relief Briefing to Encourage Californians to Apply

CALIFORNIA — U.S. Sen-ator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) held a virtual briefing today with the U.S. Department of Education, California De-partment of Financial Pro-tection & Innovation (DFPI), and a student loan holder to discuss the Biden adminis-tration’s student debt relief plan and its impacts on Cal-ifornians. The recently an-nounced plan will forgive up to $10,000 in federal student debt for student loan holders who meet income criteria and up to $20,000 for loan hold-ers who meet income criteria and who were Pell Grant re-cipients. Eligible borrowers with federal student loans can apply now for relief by filling out a fast and easy online ap-plication.
“Student debt relief will lift a huge economic burden off the shoulders of millions of hard-working Californians,” said Senator Padilla. “Forgiv-ing federal student loans will not only help advance racial equity and lift up communities of color, it will also allow borrowers to build a life with-out the weight of student loan debt holding them back and provide a boost to our econ-omy. I urge all eligible Cali-fornians with federal student loans to apply as soon as pos-sible.”
“I believe that college afford-ability is a social justice issue, and I am so proud of the deep commitment of Governor Gavin Newsom to help Cali-fornia borrowers,” said DFPI Commissioner Clothilde Hewlett. “As a longtime advo-cate for students with the be-lief that higher education can set you free and break the cy-cle of poverty, the California initiative to support student borrowers is very personal to me. Together, we can ensure that student loan borrowers have a fighting chance to get their dreams back on track and be all they can be.”
The briefing included the U.S. Department of Educa-tion Deputy Assistant Secre-tary Claire Viall, California DFPI Commissioner Clothil-de “Cloey” V. Hewlett, DFPI Student Loan Ombudsperson Celina Damian, and Mariana Lopez Ramos, a student loan holder from California State University, San Bernardino. About 4 million Californians hold an average student loan debt of $37,783, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and about 92% of California borrowers will be eligible for the new loan for-giveness. Nearly 90% of the relief dollars will go to those earning less than $75,000 per year. Of the 40 million Ameri-cans who are eligible for relief, more than 60% are Pell Grant recipients who are eligible to receive up to $20,000 in debt cancellation. 71% of Black and 65% of Latino loan holders are Pell Grant recipients. The administration’s plan will ad-vance racial equity by ensur-ing that the relief goes to the loan holders with the highest economic needs to help nar-row the racial wealth gap. Senator Padilla has been a consistent advocate for stu-dents and student loan hold-ers and urged the President to provide meaningful student debt cancellation. Padilla also cosponsored the College for All Act to make college tu-ition-free and debt-free for working families and intro-duced the Basic Assistance for Students in College (BASIC) Act to ensure college students are able to meet their basic needs while pursuing their education. He introduced the Student Debt Forgiveness for Frontline Workers Act, which would forgive student and professional training loan debt of frontline healthcare workers and honor their resil-ience and sacrifice during the COVID-19 pandemic, and cosponsored the Loan For-giveness for Educators Act of 2022 to expand federal loan forgiveness for educators. Padilla cosigned a letter to strengthen the Department of Education’s proposed rules to expand and improve student debt relief programs and sent multiple letters to the admin-istration, urging that they ex-tend the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver.

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