WASHINGTON (NEWSnet/AP) — The Joe Biden administration is moving toward a narrower student loan relief plan that would target specific groups of borrowers, rather than a sweeping plan like the proposal rejected in June by U.S. Supreme Court

An Education Department document obtained by The Associated Press details a draft of new federal rules paving the way for a second attempt at student loan relief. The proposal targets groups that are seen as vulnerable, focusing on those who owe so much or make so little income that they might be unable to repay the loan.

The department says it wants to provide relief to — borrowers whose balances exceed what they initially owed; those who have loans that entered repayment at least 25 years ago; those who used loans to attend career-training programs that led to “unreasonable” debt load or insufficient earnings; and those eligible for other loan forgiveness programs but did not apply.

Biden’s initial plan was broader. It would have canceled up to $20,000 in federal student loans for those with annual incomes below $125,000 or couples below $250,000. But after that was rejected by the court’s conservative majority, he urged the Education Department to try again using a different legal basis.

The new proposal would help to counter interest that snowballs beyond a borrower’s original balance. It would offer relief to borrowers who attended for-profit college programs with unsatisfactory outcomes.

The department will continue to refine the proposal as it goes through a federal rule-making process, according to the document. The public will be able to provide written feedback in 2024.

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