Students walk across campus at the California State University East Bay campus on Feb. 25, 2020. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

(CALMATTERS) – 3.5 million.

That’s the number of Californians who are eligible for student debt relief under a plan President Joe Biden announced last month, according to estimates put out by the White House on Tuesday.

  • Students making less than $125,000 (or joint-filers earning less than $250,000) could qualify for as much as $10,000 in debt relief. 
  • Those who received a Pell Grant, a federal program for lower-income college students, could see more — as much as $20,000 — of their debt cleared. 

According to the White House estimate, 2.3 million Californians would qualify for that additional level relief — about two-thirds of the total. (State legislative leaders vow to make sure that relief isn’t taxed.) 

All told, about 9% of the state population qualifies for some degree of debt reduction. That’s actually on the low end compared to other states. In Pennsylvania, Georgia and Ohio — which just so happen to be swing states with competitive Senate races this year — the figure sits at about 14%. 

If California is getting the proportionally short end of the stick, that’s likely because college students here tend to carry less debt overall thanks to the state’s relatively generous financial aid programs and low tuition.