At Delaware State, Biden touts student debt relief plan
President Joe Biden returned home to Delaware on Friday, imploring students and college graduates saddled with debt to take advantage of the recent debt forgiveness program.
He also called out Republicans, even name checking a few like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and Sen. Ted Cruz, for fighting the program, describing their actions as hypocritical since many of them received debt relief during the pandemic.
This week the Biden administration launched the one-time student loan debt forgiveness application. It will allow borrowers, depending on their income and if they received a Pell Grant, to receive $10,000 or $20,000 in debt relief.
The White House is encouraging people to file their forms by Nov. 15, though eligible Americans have until the end of 2023 to apply. It's estimated that 40 million people will qualify for this loan forgiveness program. As many as 20 million people could see their debt erased completely.
Biden said on Friday already 22 million Americans have signed up.
One DSU student, when introducing Biden to the stage, spoke of how he will graduate college debt free because of the one-time relief. When he first came to college, he didn’t have enough money to live on campus and was forced to take out loans.
There have been attempts to challenge the program. Six states filed a lawsuit, arguing Biden overstepped his authority as president. But a federal judge in Missouri dismissed the case on Thursday.
“Their outrage is wrong and hypocritical,” Biden said of Republicans. “The state court and supreme court said ‘No, we’re on Biden’s side.’”
Biden, flanked on stage by Delaware State University students, became the first president to visit the campus, university president Tony Allen, told the crowd before his remarks. Allen is a former Biden speechwriter.
The president spoke before a couple of hundred students and faculty with likely even more trying to make their way into the campus auditorium. A number of Delaware politicians, including the congressional delegation and Gov. John Carney, were scattered throughout the auditorium crowd.
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It was clear the president was comfortable on Friday afternoon, as he held a microphone while pacing up and down the stage at different points during his speech.
His speech on student debt veered into a stump speech for the upcoming midterm elections, in which Democrats are in danger of losing control of Congress. He called for codifying abortion access if the U.S. Senate picks up more Democratic senators, which was met with cheers.
He also alluded to his plans in 2024: “I’m coming back and I’m going to eliminate assault weapons again.”
Biden credited DSU and HBCUs for the institutions’ support throughout his political career. At one point he joked that the Divine Nine runs the White House. Vice President Kamala Harris graduated from Howard University.
“There is no better example of a university that has changed so many lives…” Biden said. “Like I said many times: Delaware State brought me to the dance.”