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Politico MORNING EDUCATION: Student debt relief at the ballot box

March 27, 2024


VOTERS WANT STUDENT DEBT RELIEF — President Joe Biden has staked part of his reelection messaging on student loan debt relief, and new polling seems to back it up: loan forgiveness matters to voters.

— Forty-eight percent of voters surveyed said they thought canceling student loan debt was very or somewhat important in November’s election. But the polling, conducted by SocialSphere on behalf of Protect Borrowers Action, offers just a snapshot of how voters view student loan debt relief. Canceling student debt was most salient to Gen Z voters (70 percent), Black non-Hispanic voters (72 percent) and Hispanic voters (68 percent).

— The new polling data comes as both the Biden administration and campaign tout debt relief efforts under the president’s new income-driven repayment plan and relief for public service workers.

— Not getting the message: But, voters don’t know how much debt the president has forgiven. Thirty-five percent of all voters surveyed said they didn’t know how much student debt, because of a Biden policy, has been canceled when asked to guess.


— Rewind to earlier this year when advisers to Biden were pressing the president and the administration to hype up the debt that has been forgiven under the new income-driven repayment plan and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness plan. This week, the Education Department is doing a spray of virtual events on the new income-driven repayment plan known as SAVE.


— Poll details: The poll surveyed 3,812 registered voters, 2,601 of them who are Gen Z or millennials, between March 15-19. John Della Volpe, an adviser on Biden’s 2020 campaign, heads SocialSphere.

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