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Biden administration announces it will cancel student debt for over 300,000 disabled Americans
via US Secretary of Defense / Flickr

One of the most shocking facts of American life is that it takes an average of 21.1 years for the average borrower to pay off their student loan debt.

Most hope that after getting an education they can bear the burden of their loans by having a successful career. But some have their careers derailed or ended altogether by becoming disabled whether by an accident or disease.

This can put someone in a perilous situation that wasn't their fault. They've lost the ability to earn an income but still have to make monthly payments for a degree that they may not need anymore.


The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will cancel the student loan debt for over 323,000 people who are "totally and permanently disabled" and have limited incomes.

The debt cancellation will total over $5.8 billion.

The federal government had laws in place to help disabled people pay off their student loan debts. However, the system required regular income verification and was difficult for many to navigate.

In 2016, a federal watchdog group found that 98% of those dropped from the loan forgiveness program had their loans restored because they failed to keep up with the paperwork, not because they made too much money.

Under the new action, the federal government will erase student debt for the 323,000 Americans identified in Social Security records as being permanently disabled. The recipients won't have to submit any further income checks or risk being eliminated from the program.

All of the loans are expected to be eliminated at the end of the year. Borrowers will be notified when their debt has been discharged.

"This is going to be a smooth process for our borrowers," Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. "They're not going to have to be applying for it or getting bogged down by paperwork."

via Michael Fleshman / Flickr

Aaron Ament, president of the National Student Legal Defense Network, called it a "life-changing" step.

"This is a huge moment for hundreds of thousands of borrowers with disabilities who can now move on with their lives and won't be trapped in a cycle of debt," he said.

"With this simple and sensible change, more than 320,000 borrowers and their families are being freed from the burden of student loans that they should not have to repay," Representative Bobby Scott, a Democrat from Virginia and chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said in a statement.

The move comes as part of a broader movement by the Biden administration to lessen the burden of student debt for many Americans. The administration extended the student debt payment moratorium enacted in March 2020 through January 31, 2022.

Earlier this year the administration canceled $1.3 billion in student debt held by seriously disabled borrowers whose canceled loans were reinstated after they failed to show proof of their earnings.

Another wave of loan forgiveness canceled $8.7 billion in debt for people who were victimized by schools that made false promises or abruptly closed shop.

Currently, 42.9 million Americans hold $1.59 trillion in federal student loan debt.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

This article originally appeared on 08.21.18


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