Fact Check

Did Joe Biden Claim He Accumulated $280,000 in College Debt?

Misinformation often continues to live online even after being retracted by its source.

Published Aug 27, 2019

HANOVER, NEW HAMPSHIRE, UNITED STATES - 2019/08/23: Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign stop at Dartmouth University in Hanover, New Hampshire. (Photo by Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) (Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
Image Via Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images
U.S. Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden claimed he accumulated $280,000 in debt while attending college.

In a "gotcha" moment that wasn't, conservative internet commentators posted incorrect claims on Twitter that 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said he had personally amassed $280,000 in college debt. Biden made no such claim.

Biden was in fact referring to educational debt associated with his children, a fact that could be gleaned by listening to his comments in their entirety.

The former U.S. vice president's original remark came during a campaign stop on Aug. 24, 2019, at Keene State College in New Hampshire. He was approached by a woman who spoke about the cost of her education and asked him to promise that, if elected, he wouldn't forget about college students.

Biden responded by stating he would not forget and said that he is affected by the issue himself, having accumulated $280,000 in debt by putting three of his children through college and graduate school.

Crowder, a Twitter and YouTube personality, later deleted the above tweet and noted the mistake, but not before the misinformation spread on the platform.


C-SPAN. "Joe Biden in Keene, New Hampshire."   24 August 2019.

Berman, Jillian. "Where the 2020 Candidates Stand on Student Debt and College Affordability."   Marketwatch. 30 July 2019.

Bethania Palma is a journalist from the Los Angeles area who started her career as a daily newspaper reporter and has covered everything from crime to government to national politics. She has written for ... read more