Supreme Court to Decide Fate of Biden Student Debt Relief Plan
The Supreme Court will soon be focusing on President Joe Biden's plan to cancel a maximum of $20,000 in federal student debt for roughly 40 million individuals who are eligible for it. On Tuesday, February 28th, the Supreme Court will evaluate two critical lawsuits that have prevented student debt relief from being implemented.
In November, the U.S. Department of Education declared that federal student loan payments would continue to be put on hold for another 60 days until the legal dispute concerning its student loan forgiveness plan is resolved. Should legal issues pertaining to the administration's student loan forgiveness plan remain unresolved at the end of June, or if it is disallowed, payments will resume at the end of August.
Should the administration be allowed to implement their student debt relief scheme, payments will resume sixty days after approval is given. Payments will not resume until 60 days after the June 30 deadline if the program is not implemented.
The Justice Department's legal rationale for the plan relies on a provision of the 2003 HEROES Act — for Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students. In the event of a national emergency, such as war, the education secretary is granted the authority to implement temporary alterations to the federal student loan system by law. Under the Heroes Act, the Secretary of Education is empowered to waive or modify any federal student-loan program regulations relating to a national emergency, as they deem necessary.
A brief submitted on behalf of legal scholars argues that the language of the HEROES Act unequivocally permits the cancellation contemplated by the Biden administration’s plan. Congress recognized that the language allowing for waivers and modifications could include altering loan programs all together, instead of just affecting individual borrowers.
It is estimated that over 40 million individuals qualify for student loan forgiveness, yet these individuals may not receive debt relief unless the Supreme Court confirms the legitimacy of the program. Additionally, this comes off the heels of the Supreme Court decision to rule the fate of student loan cancellation, which will take place at the end of February.
Supporters of President Joe Biden's stalled student debt relief proposal are organizing a “People’s Rally for Student Debt Cancellation” protest of the plan in front of the Court. The rally is set to take place on Feb.
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9. “NAACP to lead protests outside Supreme Court for student loan forgiveness” msnNOW, 22 Feb. 2023, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/naacp-to-lead-protests-outside-supreme-court-for-student-loan-forgiveness/ar-AA17O5VE