Conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices are skeptical about the legality of President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel $430 billion in student debt for about 40 million borrowers – with the fate of his policy that fulfilled a campaign promise hanging in the balance. >> Full story
- Cheat Sheet: Student Loan Debt Relief Explained – Download PDF
- “The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained” (The U.S. Department of Education)
- Average Cost of College & Tuition Fact Sheet from the Education Data Initiative
- Total Student Loan Debt Fact Sheet from the Education Data Initiative
- “Canceling Student Debt Isn’t Free. Here’s Who Pays For It” (Forbes)
- Go Deeper: Deep dive on the current case before the U.S. Supreme Court from SCOTUS Blog
In late February,
the Supreme Court heard arguments about President Biden’s plan to forgive hundreds of billions of dollars in student loan debt. Our Washington correspondent, Angie, has more.
Sound: “Are we going quietly? No!”
Angie: This was the scene outside the Supreme Court Tuesday – while inside, the justices heard arguments over President Biden’s plan to cancel $430 billion in student loan debt.
Biden’s plan, introduced last August, would forgive – or erase – up to $20,000 in loans per student that was taken out to pay for college.
The plan would affect about 40 million people, only those who make less than $125,000 per year.
But six Republican-controlled states and two student borrowers sued to stop the plan, saying it exceeded the president’s authority.
The Biden administration used a 2003 law that permits the federal government to waive or modify loans in emergencies – in this case, the COVID pandemic.
Conservative (or right-leaning justices) – who have a 6 to 3 majority on the court – seemed skeptical.
Here’s Chief Justice John Roberts.
Sound: “We’re talking about half a trillion dollars and 43 million Americans. How does that fit under the normal understanding of ‘modify’?”
The United States Solicitor General – representing the President – responded.
Sound: “Congress itself has provided for loan discharge in other circumstances in response to borrower hardship. It’s included provisions for in the Higher Education Act for bankruptcy, for example, or for total disability, or for school closure. Other kinds of hardships. And so it couldn’t have surprised Congress one bit that in response to hardship posed by a national emergency, that the Secretary might similarly consider providing discharge if that’s what it takes to make sure borrowers don’t default.”
In the meantime, the plan remains on hold until the court decides, and we likely won’t know their decision until late June.
Jonathan: You can find out more about Biden’s plan, who it affects, and the arguments against it with our Cheat Sheet on the subject at noticenews.com.