6-3 Opinion Blocks President Biden’s Student Loan Cancellation Plan
[NOTE: Advocates to hold virtual press briefing on ruling at 12 pm ET. Register here.]
WASHINGTON – Today, in a 6-3 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that President Biden’s student debt relief program, which would have offered up to $20,000 in relief to working and middle class borrowers, was not authorized by the HEROES ACT. In response to the ruling, NCLC’s Co-Director of Advocacy, Abby Shafroth, issued the following statement:
“We are deeply disappointed by this decision: It is wrong on the law and threatens the financial security of millions of low-income Americans who are struggling with unaffordable student loan debt. They were counting on debt relief to manage their payments when bills resume in September for the first time in three years.
“To block President Biden’s debt relief plan, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court broke from existing precedent and well-established limits on the Court’s authority to allow these cases to proceed. It then pushed aside the plain language of the law authorizing the debt relief program to invent from thin air new limits on the Secretary of Education’s authority to protect borrowers in the event of national emergencies.
“Fortunately, the opinion on debt relief is narrow–it is limited to what the Administration can do using national emergency authority under the HEROES Act. It does not prevent the Administration from pursuing debt relief under authority granted by other laws. Every option must be on the table to ensure that Americans with student loan debt can get the relief they need now. There is no time to wait–the Administration must act fast to deliver promised relief to worried borrowers and prevent the federal government from sending bills Americans cannot afford to pay in September.”
Today at 12pm ET, Abby Shafroth will participate in a virtual, on-record media scrum to offer legal analysis and takeaways from the Supreme Court decisions on student debt relief, along with legal experts from the Student Borrower Protection Center, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and Democracy Forward. Register at https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zfm5IA1VTvWWkR2i0LM6xQ#/registration.
- NCLC’s Student Loan Borrower Assistance website
- Background on Cases and Debt Cancellation
- Press Release: NCLC Advocates Attend SCOTUS Arguments, Rally in Support of Student Debt Cancellation
- NCLC Letter re: Legal Authority to Cancel Student Loan Debt and Next Steps for Relieving the Burden of Student Debt
- Report: Disproportionately Impacted: Closing the Racial Wealth Gap through Student Loan Cancellation, Payment Reforms, and Investment in College Affordability
- Report: Voices of Despair: Student Borrowers Trapped in Poverty When the Government Seizes Their Earned Income Tax Credit