During his presidential campaign, President Joe Biden promised to create a plan that would provide student debt relief. The Biden Administration has recently introduced a plan providing the ability to make the student loan system more manageable for students from low and middle-income families.
Progress on this plan has been stunted by several lawsuits despite multiple lawsuits being dismissed by federal court judges
The alliance of Republican-led state attorney generals responsible for one of these lawsuits appealed the dismissal to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals after a federal District Court judge dismissed the suit. This action temporarily blocked the student debt relief plan.
One of the state attorney generals’ major legal arguments in their lawsuit against the Biden Administration’s student debt relief plan is that it is financially harmful to the states.
This is due to the state-affiliated Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) agencies which will lose revenue as a result of forgiving student debt. In order to have validity in their case, the states must show that the plan creates substantial economic harm.
“I am worried about the acts of the GOP that are aiming to stop the student debt relief plan by the Biden Administration. I believe that they are only concerned with the possible short-term economic consequences and ignoring the future of educational opportunities,” said Claire Neeb (’25).
In the last 20 years, the total cost of a four-year college education has almost tripled. According to a Department of Education analysis, the typical undergraduate student with loans now graduates with nearly $25,000 in debt. Many students from low and middle-income families have no choice but to receive federal aid if they want to get a college degree.
According to the Department of Education, almost one-third of those who received financial aid for their education have debt but have not earned a degree. Many of these students could not complete their degrees because the cost of attending college was too high.
“The student debt relief plan increases college attendees. Because of the cost of college, people have chosen to go into the trades; although those are necessary, we still need the jobs that a college education can grant like doctors, nurses and teachers. Not relieving student debt prevents the employment opportunities we need for the future,” said Neeb.
Student debt falls disproportionately onto the African American community. According to The Institute on Assets and Social Policy, twenty years after first enrolling in college, the average African American who received financial aid and started college in the 1995-96 school year still owed 95% of their original student debt.
“The student loan debt relief will carry a significant price tag. However, it also will relieve all student loan debt for a significant number of lower-income earners, which will create positive economic benefits,” said Dr. Hulme, professor of political science.
To guarantee an easy transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the Biden Administration extended the pause on federal student loan repayment one final time through Dec. 31, 2022. Those who have student debt should expect to resume their payments in January of 2023.
For more information on student debt relief visit the White House’s website.