President Biden's federal student loan forgiveness plan will cost U.S. taxpayers between $440 billion and $600 billion over the next 10 years, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget settled on a central estimate of approximately $500 billion, according to a Thursday report.
Biden announced up to $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness on Wednesday. Students who attended college using federal Pell Grants qualify for the $20,000, but those who did not use the program qualify for $10,000 in forgiveness. The handout only applies to borrowers making less than $125,000 per year.
More than 43 million Americans have federal student debt, amounting to a total of more than $1.6 trillion. Nearly one third of those owe less than $10,000 and more than half owe less than $20,000, according to the latest federal data.
Critics have argued Biden's program will contribute to already record-high levels of inflation in the U.S.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell argued the program is "yet another way to make inflation even worse, reward far-left activists, and achieve nothing for millions of working American families who can barely tread water."
Biden, however, touted the program as a fulfillment of his campaign promise to cancel $10,000 in student debt. Democrats had initially stated that the White House lacks the authority to unilaterally cancel debt and that the president must go through Congress.
"People think that the President of the United States has the power for debt forgiveness. He does not. He can postpone, he can delay, but he does not have that power. That has to be an act of Congress," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in 2021.
Biden himself doubted his authority to cancel debt through executive order last year.
"I don’t think I have the authority to do it by signing the pen," he said in February.
This is a developing story. Check back soon for updates.