By Darreonna Davis
Howard University News Service
With the latest revision by the Education Department, Repay As You Earn (REPAYE) would become the most affordable income-driven repayment plan to date. REPAYE, one of four programs offered by the Federal Student Aid office, would cut millions of borrowers’ monthly student loan repayments in half.
The Biden Administration is especially looking for these revisions to have a lasting impact on Black, Latino and Indigenous graduates.
“Student debt is particularly a challenge for Americans of color,” a senior official said. “This plan should have substantial benefits for Black, Latino borrowers by reducing their payments by 50 cents for every dollar borrowed, and our hope is that it will play a role in reducing inequities in our country.”
The college and career site Best Colleges reported last fall that the average monthly student loan repayment for borrowers who obtained a bachelor’s degree was $267. Researchers at the Education Data Initiative reported last summer that 29% of Black borrowers paid back an average of $350 or more.
“We cannot return to the same broken system we had before the pandemic, when a million borrowers defaulted on their loans a year and snowballing interest left millions owing more than they initially borrowed,” Miguel Cardona, the U.S. Secretary of Education, said in a statement.
“These proposed regulations will cut monthly payments for undergraduate borrowers in half and create faster pathways to forgiveness, so borrowers can better manage repayment, avoid delinquency and default, and focus on building brighter futures for themselves and their families.”
The repayment program is separate from President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, and the government is hoping to implement both later this year, according to a senior official.
Darreonna Davis is a reporter and editor for HUNewsService.com. She is also an environmental justice fellow under a partnership with Inside Climate News.