The U.S. federal government is on track to provide $108 billion or more in debt forgiveness for student loans during the next few years.
The move was driven by an increase in enrollment in income-driven repayment plans reducing the amount borrowers have to pay back each month based on income. After 10 to 20 years, the remaining debt is forgiven.
Enrollment in these plans has more than tripled in the last three years — it now accounts for 24 percent of all past students. All told, they owe $355 billion. The Government Accountability Office estimates that, of that amount, $137 billion will never be paid back.
Here are the numbers:
$108 billion | Amount in student loans the federal government will forgive in the coming years
10–20 years | How long students pay on income-driven repayment plans before the remaining debt is forgiven
3x | Enrollment in these plans has more than tripled in the last three years
24 percent | Percent of past students who enrolled in income-based repayment plans
$355 billion | Total amount these students owe
$137 billion | Amount of the total estimated may never be paid back