Enrichment Education

White House releases state-by-state student debt forgiveness estimates

Biden’s plan could eliminate student debt entirely for 20 million borrowers.

Story at a glance


  •  Around 90 percent of the expected relief will go to Americans earning less than $75,000 per year.

  • States with relatively large populations, like California and Texas, have the most borrowers who meet the criteria for forgiveness.

  • The Education Department advises applying prior to Nov. 15 for relief to occur before restarting federal loan repayments in January.

The White House on Tuesday released a state-by-state breakdown of borrowers affected by President Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan, which could eliminate student debt entirely for 20 million borrowers. 

About 90 percent of the expected relief will go to Americans earning less than $75,000 per year, according to a White House fact sheet. The Biden administration in August rolled out plans to forgive up to $10,000 for federal borrowers earning less than $125,000 and up to $20,000 for borrowers who meet the income criteria and received a Pell Grant during college.  

Biden’s plan could affect more than 40 million total borrowers in all 50 states if all eligible applicants apply for relief beginning online in early October. The Education Department advises applying prior to Nov. 15 for relief to kick in before restarting federal loan repayments in January.  

States with relatively large populations, like California and Texas, have the most borrowers who meet the criteria for forgiveness. More than 3.5 million student debt holders in California are eligible for up to $10,000 each in loan forgiveness — more than 2.3 million received Pell Grants. 

In Texas, more than 3.3 million borrowers could see up to $10,000 removed from their balances, while slightly more than 2.3 million former Pell Grant recipients are eligible for up to $20,000.  

Wyoming has the fewest borrowers eligible for student debt forgiveness, where more than 31,000 out of about 50,000 debt holders could receive up to $20,000.  

Mississippi has the highest percentage of Pell Grant recipients set to benefit among its borrowers at 76 percent — 316,400 out of 417,200. Meanwhile, approximately 74 percent of borrowers in New Mexico could see up to $20,000 of their loans eliminated. 

Arkansas, Utah, and Idaho round out the top five states with the highest percentage of their eligible borrowers potentially seeing up to $20,000 wiped off their student debt balances. 

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The administration said its increased forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients could work toward narrowing the racial wealth gap as nearly 71 percent of Black and 65 percent of Latino undergraduate borrowers are Pell Grant recipients. 

Pell Grants, which have a maximum allowance of $6,895 per academic year, are typically awarded to undergraduate students in serious financial need. The number increased in March for the current academic year. 

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said on social media Tuesday said that the $400 Pell Grant increase “reduces the college cost by 70 percent” for students attending Historically Black Colleges and Universities.