Economic inequality

IRS tax documents

IRS free tax filing program launches in 12 pilot states

While the pilot focuses on “simple tax situations,” the U.S. Treasury estimates the pilot could cover about one-third of tax situations for 19 million taxpayers. Within five years, the program could save the average filer $160 per year, or a collective $11 billion annually including tax prep fees and time, according to a report from the Economic Security Project.

IRS free tax filing program launches in 12 pilot states More

Laughing Baby

Japan expands free day care centers to all children

The Japanese government announced that it will now offer free daycare to all children aged 6 months to 2 years old, regardless of parents’ employment status. The “Childcare Access for All” program, set to begin in April 2024 with a trial run in 150 municipalities, will see nationwide implementation by 2026. All children within the age range will be eligible, with initial access capped at 10 hours per month, though an increase is planned for 2026.

Japan expands free day care centers to all children More

American money

Biden administration to forgive $1.2 billion in student debt for over 150,000 borrowers

The Biden administration will forgive another $1.2 billion in student debt for nearly 153,000 borrowers enrolled its new repayment program, called the Saving on a Valuable Education, or SAVE, plan. The relief will go to borrowers who have been in repayment for a decade or longer, and originally took out $12,000 or less. Biden has now canceled debt for almost 3.9 million borrowers, totaling $138 billion in relief.

Biden administration to forgive $1.2 billion in student debt for over 150,000 borrowers More

Manhattan skyline

New York City plans to wipe out $2 billion in medical debt for 500,000 residents

The city is working with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that buys medical debt in bulk from hospitals and debt collectors for pennies on the dollar. The group targets the debt of people with low incomes or financial hardships and then forgives the amounts. Under the program, the city will spend $18 million over three years.

New York City plans to wipe out $2 billion in medical debt for 500,000 residents More

People in auditorium seating

Butler University to become third U.S. college to offer two-year, debt-free associate degree program

The new program aims to help students of color, first-generation college students and students from low-income households receive a higher education. After earning an associate degree, the new program will also allow students to receive a bachelor’s degree from the university for about $10,000.

Butler University to become third U.S. college to offer two-year, debt-free associate degree program More

Installing rooftop solar

U.S. Department of Energy to invest more than $400 million on rooftop solar in Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable communities

This funding will also support thousands of local clean energy jobs, help achieve President Biden’s goal of lowering energy costs for all Americans, as well as help Puerto Rico achieve its goal of 100% renewable energy by 2050. The first installations are slated to begin in Spring 2024.

U.S. Department of Energy to invest more than $400 million on rooftop solar in Puerto Rico’s most vulnerable communities More