The original timeline for President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan fell through after two major legal setbacks.
Tens of millions of federal student loan borrowers have been encouraged to submit their applications for up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness by Nov. 15, to have their debts forgiven by 2023. This deadline passed before millions of people had a chance to apply.
Some 26 million borrowers applied for forgiveness last week, according to Biden administration officials. However, the application portal was closed on Friday after a Texas federal judge issued an injunction, which halts the pardon program while the case unfolds. The Biden administration quickly appealed the decision. But on Monday, a separate federal appeals court dealt another blow by issuing a similar injunction.
“The injunction will remain in effect until further notice from this court or the Supreme Court of the United States,” the federal appeals judges said in their ruling.
These legal developments leave Biden’s flagship student debt relief initiative in limbo.
A one-time forgiveness of up to $20,000 per borrower was a key part of the president’s plans to make sweeping changes to federal student loan programs before loan repayments resume Jan. 1, 2023. Monthly repayments federal loans have been suspended since March. 2020.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration has written off more than $38 billion in student loan debt through targeted relief programs. The extensive one-time forgiveness plan is considered the icing on the cake. If the administration’s loan cancellation program is successful, up to 20 million borrowers could see their balances wiped out entirely.
It is not yet clear whether the sweeping loan forgiveness plan will survive court challenges. At the very least, the expected student loan forgiveness schedule is upended, and the Biden administration is reportedly in the early stages of considering another extension of the loan payment pause to give borrowers more time to react and prepare accordingly.
What’s next for student loan forgiveness?
For borrowers who have already applied for a large student loan forgiveness, the Department of Education said it will keep their information close at hand. But the department cannot forgive anyone’s debt through this program unless the Biden administration triumphs in court.
In other words, it’s a waiting game. Borrowers should sit tight and subscribe to student loan cancellation alerts directly from the Department of Education to stay up to date as the Biden administration defends its agenda in court. At some point, the case should reach the Supreme Court.
“We are confident in our legal authority for the Student Debt Relief Program and believe it is necessary to help the most needy borrowers as they recover from the pandemic,” said the Attaché. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement following Monday’s decision. “The administration will continue to fight these baseless lawsuits brought by Republican officials and special interests and will never stop fighting to support American workers and middle classes.”
Will there be another student loan payment break?
The punch of legal setbacks is expected to delay or even derail the forgiveness program as January 1, 2023 weighs on millions of borrowers who will have to start payments again.
If the general cancellation of student loans does not happen by then, about 20 million borrowers who expected their student debt balances to be completely erased will have to start repaying their loans again.
Lending departments can also be sent into a scramble as they face the unprecedented task of restarting payments for additional borrowers. In April, the federal government estimated that up to 15 million borrowers could have financial difficulty resuming payments. This number could be much higher if forgiveness does not materialize in the near future.
To avoid this scenario, the Biden administration is beginning to weigh a further extension of the student loan payment pause, according to unnamed aides quoted by the Washington Post.
“The extension we’re likely to see is meant to make sure borrowers don’t have the rug pulled out from under them, rather than an indefinite replacement of loan forgiveness,” a person told The Daily Mail. Job.
Not everyone agrees with this approach.
“With inflation at its highest level in 40 years and unemployment near historic lows, there is absolutely no justification for extending the student debt pause again,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. “The pause was put in place as an emergency measure at the start of the pandemic. As the President has repeatedly pointed out, the pandemic recession is long over.
When asked to comment on the matter, the Department of Education referred Money’s questions to the White House, and the White House did not respond.
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