Biden approves $6.1 billion in student loan debt relief for Art Institute enrollees

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Supreme Court rules against Biden student loan forgiveness in Washington

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden on Wednesday announced the approval of more than $6.1 billion in student loan debt relief for nearly 317,000 borrowers who were enrolled at any Art Institute campus from January 2004 until October 2017.

The Art Institutes was a private-for-profit system of art schools in the United States that faced a host of legal issues and closed last September.

The Education Department found that The Art Institutes and its parent company, Education Management Corporation, made "pervasive and substantial misrepresentations to prospective students about postgraduation employment rates, salaries, and career services during that time."

The measure brings the total amount of student loan debt relief put in place by the Biden administration to nearly $160 billion for nearly 4.6 million borrowers.

Progressive voters, whom Biden, a Democrat, hopes will support him against Republican challenger Donald Trump in the November election, have pushed the White House to address student loan debt.

Biden last year pledged to find other avenues for tackling debt relief after the Supreme Court in June blocked his broader plan to cancel $430 billion in student loan debt.

As of June 2023, approximately 43.4 million student loan recipients had $1.63 trillion in outstanding loans, according to the Federal Student Aid website.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)