Federalized student loans: billions in lost revenue due to flaws in budget estimates.

Meghan Brink:

Since 1997, changes to the federal student loan program, including programs that set certain borrowers on a path toward forgiveness, new repayment methods and the pause on student loan payments that was enacted at the start of the pandemic, have driven a 33 percent increase in the cost of the student loan program, totaling $102 billion.

By far, the largest change that contributed to this increase was the pause on federal student loan payments and programmatic changes enacted throughout the pandemic and other pandemic-related loan forgiveness programs, the report shows. In total, these changes drove an increase of over $107 billion between the years 2020 and 2021.

Other changes included the Taxpayer-Teacher Protection Act of 2004, which increased the amount of loan forgiveness that certain teachers could be eligible for, resulting in a $48 million increase; the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, which re-established models for income-driven repayment (IDR) and PSLF, resulting in a $4 billion increase; and the Revised Pay as You Earn plan, a form of IDR, resulting in a $9.9 billion increase. In total, these changes have accounted for a 6 percent increase, totaling $20 billion.