President Biden is canceling $5.3 million in student-loan debt for 700 Mainers through a new income-based repayment plan, the U.S. Department of Education announced Friday.

Education Student Loans

President Biden speaks on student loan debt forgiveness, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, on Oct. 4, in Washington. Americans who are struggling to repay federal student loans because of financial hardship could get some of their debt canceled under Biden’s latest attempt at forgiveness, the Education Department announced on Thursday, Feb. 15. Evan Vucci/Associated Press file

The debt relief in Maine, which averages about $7,600 per person, is part of a larger effort to clear $1.2 billion in loans for 153,000 borrowers nationwide eligible under what the White House is calling the SAVE Plan, Biden announced on Wednesday.

The program will cancel debt for borrowers who originally took out $12,000 or less in loans that they have been repaying for at least 10 years. If a borrower has more than $12,000 of debt, their loans also can be forgiven with an additional year of repayment for every $1,000 of debt. Ultimately, all borrowers will have their debt wiped out after 20 or 25 years of repayment, depending on whether they attended graduate school.

Biden originally launched the SAVE Plan last August to base college debt repayment plans on a borrower’s income and family size. It cut some repayment plans down to $0 a month.

As of 2022, 187,100 Mainers owed a total of $6.2 billion in student loan debt, according to the Education Data Initiative. Around 32,500 Mainers are currently enrolled in the SAVE Plan, which will regularly identify borrowers who qualify for loan forgiveness in the future.

Biden previously attempted to cancel up to $400 billion in debt for 43 million Americans in 2022. But he was blocked by the Supreme Court last year, which argued that the administration had overstepped.

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