Six-figure salaried St. Paul mayor thanks Joe Biden for forgiving his student loans

Despite raking in at least $129,000 per year, Melvin Carter's federal loans were forgiven.

St. Paul
St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter speaks at a "Safe Summer 2024" press conference May 31. (City of St. Paul/YouTube)

St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter is off the hook for his federal student loans, and he has credited President Joe Biden for his good fortune.

In a May 29 tweet, Carter posted a screenshot of his account on federal student loan servicer MOHELA with zero-dollar figures in his “payments due” category with the attached caption, “Thank you, Mr. President!” Carter’s post included a quote-tweet of Biden which bragged, “the Supreme Court tried to block me from relieving student debt. But they didn’t stop me. I’ve relieved student debt for over 5 million Americans. I’m going to keep going.”

Strikingly, Carter’s federal student loans were forgiven even in light of his fairly substantial salary. As highlighted by the Pioneer Press, Carter was making $129,000 per year as of 2019, although his current salary may, in fact, be higher, according to the Star Tribune. Nonetheless, Carter’s high salary did not disqualify him from Biden’s attempts at federal student loan forgiveness.

The Biden administration’s attempts at federal student loan forgiveness have been the subject of intense legal controversy. In June 2023, the United States Supreme Court ruled 6-3 that the Biden administration could not proceed with a plan that would have “canceled roughly $430 billion of federal student loan balances, completely erasing the debts of 20 million borrowers and lowering the median amount owed by the other 23 million from $29,400 to $13,600.”

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice John Roberts found that the Secretary of Education did not have the power under the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act (HEROES) to forgive or reduce loans outside of circumstances specified under Title IV of the 1965 Higher Education Act, “let alone ‘clear congressional authorization’ for such a program.”

Of course, this has not stopped Biden from attempting to find other avenues for federal student loan forgiveness. On May 17, the Sixth Circuit Court upheld the Biden administration’s IDR Account Adjustment initiative which, according to Forbes, “credits borrowers with time toward student loan forgiveness under IDR plans and PSLF for past periods that may not have otherwise counted. This includes time spent in non-qualifying repayment plans or in certain deferment and forbearance periods, as well as qualifying periods prior to consolidation. Borrowers can qualify for student loan forgiveness after 20 or 25 years in repayment under IDR plans,” allowing $51 billion in previous relief payouts to stand.

With Biden’s refusal to back away from loan forgiveness even in the face of the Supreme Court, the possibility has been raised that Mayor Carter may not be the only mayor having student loans forgiven.


Evan Poellinger

Evan Poellinger, the Alpha News Summer 2024 Journalism Fellow, is a native Minnesotan with a lifelong passion for history and politics. He previously worked as a journalism intern with the American Spectator and an investigative journalism fellow with the Media Research Center. He is a graduate of College of the Holy Cross with degrees in political science and history.