Kvaal Highlights ‘Complex’ Nature of Efforts to Implement Student Debt Cancellation

By Hugh T. Ferguson, NASFAA Senior Staff Reporter

As the student loan repayment pause again approaches its expiration, the Department of Education's (ED) top higher education official — Under Secretary James Kvaal — recently reiterated that the administration is continuing to look at broadscale forgiveness and is continuing to examine their authority.

"There's a lot of twists and turns,” Kvaal said in a recent interview. “It's not a question of yes, you have the authority, or no, you don't have the authority. There's a lot of hoops we have to go through."

Kvaal also walked through the administration’s efforts to streamline the current repayment system and ensure borrowers receive relief that they were previously eligible for, and highlighted the resources needed to make continued investments in financial aid.

According to Kvaal, the Biden administration is looking to make key investments with the help of Congress — like doubling the Pell Grant, and implementing some form of free community college — but in the meantime ED will continue to evaluate the authority they have to ensure that students do not got stuck in red tape when trying to pursue their higher education. Specifically, Kvaal said that the department was working to ensure that when borrowers are eligible for cancellation through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program or are eligible for total and permanent disability (TPD), that they are able to easily access that promised relief.

As a part of his remarks, Kvaal largely echoed comments he made at the NASFAA 2022 National Conference, underscoring that the administration is still working through the logistics of the payment pause that is slated to expire on August 31.


Publication Date: 7/25/2022

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