Last updated on: 3/6/2024 | Author:

Should Any Amount of Student Loan Debt Be Eliminated via Forgiveness or Bankruptcy?

Student loan debt is frequently in the news as politicians debate solutions to the rising costs of college that lead to sometimes crippling amounts of debt. For those with outstanding student loans, such debt can be discharged in two ways: forgiveness and bankruptcy.

On Aug. 24, 2022, President Biden announced a short loan freeze through Dec. 31, 2022, as well as a cancellation of “up to $20,000 of federal student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients, and up to $10,000 for other qualifying borrowers.” The White House stated about 43 million borrowers would qualify the cancellation, with 20 million borrowers qualifying to have their debt completely canceled. On June 30, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the student loan program in a 6-3 vote under the premise that federal law does not permit the U.S. Department of Education to cancel such student loans. For more on student loan debt elimination, explore the ProCon debate.

PRO (yes)


Joe Biden:

“No President has fought harder for student debt relief than President Biden, and he’s not done yet. President Biden and Vice President Harris will not let Republican elected officials succeed in denying hardworking Americans the relief they need….

The President remains committed to providing relief to low- and middle-income borrowers. For too many Americans, a ticket to the middle-class remains out of reach because of unmanageable student loan debt. COVID-19 exacerbated that challenge – risking tens of millions of borrowers’ financial security and futures because of the economic harms brought on by a once-in-a-century pandemic.”


White House, “FACT SHEET: President Biden Announces New Actions to Provide Debt Relief and Support for Student Loan Borrowers,”, June 30, 2023


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.:

“The unfortunate SCOTUS ruling striking down President Biden’s #studentloan forgiveness program was the predictable result of Biden’s failure to bring Congress together on this issue of crucial importance to young Americans.

President Biden knew his plan wouldn’t survive a legal challenge. His plan gave the appearance of action, while accomplishing nothing.

This is an issue of grave importance to our country. As President, I will galvanize public support to pressure Congress to put down their partisan positions and legislate meaningful relief to the tens of millions of Americans who are drowning in student debt.

I will also take steps to reduce education costs for students. When I was their age, a college education cost about one-seventh of what it is today. A young person could work their way through college and graduate debt-free. If we devoted even a fraction of our military budget to higher education, it could be virtually free to all (as it is in many other countries).

Funding higher education is not an entitlement program, it is an investment in America’s future, just as with infrastructure and environment. Let’s invest in America’s young people instead of in the forever wars.”

Editors’ Note: The hashtag #Kennedy24 was repeated throughout the tweet thread. ProCon removed the hashtag for text continuity.


Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.,, June 30, 2023


Donald Trump:

“I am proud to announce that I am taking executive action to ensure that our wounded warriors are not saddled with mountains of student debt. They have made a sacrifice that’s so great. And they’re such incredible people. And they never complain. They never complain. That’s hundreds of millions of dollars in student debt held by our severely wounded warriors. It’s gone forever.”

Editors’ Note: Trump has expressed a CON opinion about a wider student loan forgiveness program: “Today, the Supreme Court also ruled that President Biden cannot wipe out hundreds of billions, perhaps trillions of dollars, in student loan debt, which would have been very unfair to the millions and millions of people who paid their debt through hard work and diligence, very unfair.”


Neil Vigdor, “Trump Orders Student Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Veterans,”, Aug. 21, 2019 

Source for Editors’ Note: Cynthia Measom, “If Trump Wins, What Could Happen To Student Loan Debt?,”, July 15, 2023

CON (no)