US Supreme Court to review President Biden's student debt plan




  • In Business
  • 2022-12-01 21:53:45Z
  • By BBC
Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona
Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona  

The US Supreme Court has agreed to review the legality of President Joe Biden's plan to cancel student loan debt for millions of borrowers.

The programme will remain on hold until the case is heard, the court has announced.

In November, a lower court judge ruled the programme was unlawful and overstepped the power of Congress.

The programme would provide $20,000 (£24,490) in loan relief to tens of millions of Americans.

Oral arguments in the case are slated to begin in February, with a decision expected by late June.

The Biden administration's initiative has become the centre of a legal battle after six Republican-controlled US states - Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina - challenged the plan.

Last month, a federal appeals court in St Louis issued an injunction or judicial order, prompting the Biden administration to request that the Supreme Court intervene.

In a brief written order published on Thursday, the Supreme Court said it will hear arguments in the case, with the programme remaining on hold until then.

In August, the Biden administration announced plans to cancel approximately $10,000 in federal student debt for students earning less than $125,000, as well as $10,000 for students who received Pell Grants, which are awarded to students who display "exceptional" financial need.

  • US student loan relief applications halted

  • Is Biden's student debt forgiveness fair?

Over 26 million people have already applied for the programme. Of these, 16 million have been approved, according to data from the Department of Education. The White House had previously estimated that a total of 43 million people would be affected by the plan, with 20 million having their debt completely cancelled.

The administration, however, stopped taking applications in November while the court proceedings are completed.

"At this time, we are not accepting applications," a notice posted on the government's website said. "We are seeking to overturn those [court] orders. If you've already applied, we'll hold your application,"

White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in November characterised opponents of the programme as being "backed by extreme Republican special interests".

She added that the US Department of Justice will keep applicants' information on file so that the debt forgiveness can swiftly go ahead "once we prevail in court."

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