BIDEN’S STUDENT LOAN PLAN Conservative judges show skepticism about student loan forgiveness

Washington, D.C. — The Supreme Court convened on Tuesday to hear two cases challenging President Joe Biden’s plan for student loan forgiveness. At stake: forgiveness of up to $20,000 in debt for more than 40 million Americans. Approximately half of these people can have their federal student debt canceled entirely.

Already, about 26 million people have applied for debt forgiveness, and 16 million applications have been approved. However, due to court rulings, all relief is suspended. The Education Department stopped taking applications in November due to legal challenges to the plan.

The Supreme Court will have the final say on whether Biden can cancel student loan debt, and honor a campaign pledge he made in 2020. Here’s what to know if you’re waiting for debt relief.

Who qualifies for a Biden loan?

The plan Biden announced last August would cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those with incomes less than $125,000 or families with incomes less than $250,000. Pell Grant recipients, who typically come from low-income families, will receive an additional $10,000 in debt relief, for a total of $20,000.

Federal student loans taken out for both undergraduate and graduate students, including Graduate PLUS loans, can qualify for forgiveness under the plan.

Borrowers will qualify if their federal student loans are disbursed before July 1.

Under the plan, if you pay off your loans during the pandemic, you can request a refund and then apply for forgiveness.

How is the Supreme Court expected to rule on student loans?

Conservatives dominate the Supreme Court 6-3, and the justices’ questions in oral arguments Tuesday showed doubts about the legality of Biden’s student loan plan. It seemed likely that the court would rule in a way that would kill the student loan forgiveness scheme.

Several conservative justices have indicated that the administration has overstepped its authority with the program. Chief Justice John Roberts mentioned the program’s cost—estimated at $400 billion over 30 years—and its broad impact on millions of Americans. He said that most observers believe that “this is something that Congress needs to work on.”

Conservative Judge Brett Kavanaugh noted that Congress refused to pass student loan forgiveness, so Biden did it himself. He said this “seems problematic”.

The only hope for the Biden plan seemed to be a legal technician. Oral arguments left little prospect that the court would find that states and people who challenge Biden’s plan lack the legal right to sue. We won’t know for sure how the court will deliver its ruling until the decision is made public.

When will the Supreme Court decide student loan cases?

The Supreme Court heard arguments Tuesday, but there won’t be a decision for months. The court usually issues all its decisions by the end of June.

How do I know if my student loans will be forgiven?

All federal student loan borrowers are waiting for the Supreme Court to either overturn Biden’s forgiveness plan or allow it to move forward. Relief under the Biden plan is on hold until the court cases are over — even for people who applied for student loan forgiveness before the courts blocked it.

If the justices allow the plan to move forward, Biden’s debt forgiveness is for borrowers with federal student loans, not private loans.

To determine what type of loans you get, log on to the federal student aid website, Direct loans, including Parent Plus loans, qualify. Some old FFEL and Perkins loans also qualify, if they are owned by the Department of Education. For people who hold old FFEL loans, consolidating those loans can result in a credit for forgiveness under certain income-driven repayment plans.

If you have already applied and been accepted, you should have received an email letting you know. But you still have to wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling to see if these loans will be canceled permanently.

Who will pay Biden’s student loan?

Eventually, the cost will become part of the equation used to figure out the federal deficit. Biden’s plan to cancel student debt will cost the federal government about $400 billion over the next 30 years, according to the latest estimates from the Congressional Budget Office. The office warned that its estimates are “highly uncertain” because it’s hard to know how much borrowers would have paid in the future without Biden’s action.

Biden said those costs would be offset by other measures to reduce the federal deficit. He pointed to a bill signed into law in August that is expected to raise about $740 billion over a decade, from a combination of government savings from lower drug prices, higher taxes on large corporations, fees on companies that buy back their own stock and interest. Strong taxes. tax collection.

Will the interruption in student loan payments continue?

During the pandemic, two presidential administrations have suspended payments to those who hold federal student loans. The hiatus has been extended until late this summer.

Payments are set to appeal, along with accruing interest, 60 days after court cases are resolved. For example, if legal problems persisted at the end of June, payments would resume at the end of August. If the court issues a judgment in March, payments could begin as early as May or June.

If cases are not resolved by June 30, payments will begin 60 days after that.

Is it likely that student Biden’s tolerance will never happen?

Yes. Biden student loan forgiveness may not happen, period. (Other loan forgiveness programs will continue, such as those for teachers or employees of nonprofit organizations, or for people who have been defrauded by a for-profit college.)

The administration hasn’t given insight into a Plan B if it loses the Supreme Court cases, which seemed likely during oral arguments on Tuesday.

“We are focused on Plan A because we are confident in our legal authority to carry out this program,” White House spokeswoman Olivia Dalton told reporters aboard Air Force One on Tuesday.

However, advocates point to other ways in which debt can be forgiven, including through the Higher Education Act.

How Should I Prepare to Pay off Student Loans to Restart?

Betsy Mayotte, president of the Institute of Student Loan Counselors, encourages people not to make any payments until the pause is over. Instead, as you say, put the payment amount into a savings account.

“After that, you keep your habit of making the down payment, but also earn a little bit of interest. There’s no reason to send that money into student loans until the last minute 0% interest rate.”

Mayotte recommends that borrowers use the loan simulation tool at or the tool on the TISLA website to find the payment plan that best fits their needs. The calculators tell you your monthly payment under each available plan, as well as your long-term costs.

“I really want to stress over the long term,” Mayotte said.

Sometimes, when borrowers are in financial trouble, Mayotte said, they will choose the option with the lowest monthly payment, which can cost more over the life of the loan. Rather than “set it and forget it,” it encourages borrowers to reassess when their financial situation improves.

Can I set up a payment plan for my student loans?

Yes, but some advocates encourage borrowers to wait until now, as there is no financial penalty while payments are paused and interest is accrued.

However, Katherine Welbeck of the Student Borrower Protection Center recommends logging into your account and making sure you know the name of the provider, the due date, and whether you’re on a best-income paid repayment plan.

If your budget does not allow you to resume payments, it is important that you know how to navigate the possibility of default and delinquency on your student loan. Both can hurt your credit rating, making you ineligible for additional help.

If you’re in short-term financial trouble, you may be eligible for a deferment or forbearance – which allows you to temporarily put a payment on hold.

How can I reduce costs when paying off my student loans?

– If you sign up for automatic payments, the provider takes a quarter of a percent of your interest rate, says Mayotte.

Income driven payment plans are not suitable for everyone. However, if you know you will eventually qualify for forgiveness under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, it makes sense to make the lowest possible monthly payments, since the remainder of your debt will be canceled once that decade of payments is complete.

– Reassess your monthly student loan payment during tax season, when you already have all of your financial information in front of you. “Can you afford to increase it? Or do you need to reduce it?” Mayotte said.

Split the payments in whatever way suits you best. You can consider two installments per month, rather than a large monthly amount.

Do student loans fall out after 10 years?

If you’ve worked for a government agency or nonprofit, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program offers cancellation after 10 years of regular payments, and some income-based repayment plans cancel what’s left of the borrower’s debt after 20 to 25 years.

Borrowers must ensure that they are enrolled in the best income-paying repayment plan to qualify for these programs. You can learn more about these plans here.

Borrowers who have been defrauded by for-profit colleges can also apply for a borrower defense and get relief.

These programs will not be affected by the Supreme Court ruling.


The Associated Press receives support from the Charles Schwab Foundation for Educational and Interpretive Reporting to improve financial literacy. The independent foundation is separate from Charles Schwab & Partners. The Associated Press is solely responsible for its journalism.


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