Why the Federal Student Loan Debt Relief Program is a huge win for women

By Jennifer Tucker

Making good on a campaign promise, this week the Biden-Harris administration announced that borrowers can apply for student loan debt relief. This is good news for women, who account for two-thirds of borrowers and their average debt is $30,000 for four years.

According to the American Association of University Women, the amount is even higher for Black ($41,466), Native American ($36,184) and Pacific Island ($38,747) women. White women average $33,851 and Asian American women and Latinas leave school with a lower debt amount of a little under $30,000. 

The debt increases for women who pursue a postgraduate degree where they can expect at least a $55,000 student debt. Black women can expect to carry the most debt at $75,000. Graduate school does not improve earning power; the women’s pay gap for women with postgraduate study is at 81 percent of what white non-Hispanic men earn. The pay gap is even wider for women of color.

With college loan debt reaching $1.7 trillion, this initiative expects to reach 43 million borrowers.

The program forgives $20,000 in student debt for Pell Grant recipients and $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers earning $125,000 or less annually as an individual or $250,000 as a household in 2020 or 2021. 

The application takes less than 5 minutes. It’s available in English and Spanish on desktop and mobile devices. And you don’t need to log in with an FSA ID or to upload any documents to apply.  Learn more and apply at studentaid.gov/debtrelief/apply.

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