The Biden administration again called out conservative states for blocking the president’s signature plan for student loan debt forgiveness on Friday, sharing that hundreds of thousands of borrowers in states contesting the plan were approved for relief before being blocked by the courts.
Nationwide, about 26 million borrowers applied in the few weeks that applications opened last fall, and more than 16 million were approved for relief. But two separate court cases late last year stalled the debt forgiveness plan. In a call with reporters, administration officials said Republican leaders in some states were responsible..
“The new data comes as elected officials and opponents of this plan are actively blocking many of their own constituents from getting relief, deciding instead to put special interests first,” said Jordan Matsudaira, chief economist at the Department of Education.
He specifically referenced Missouri, where approximately 305,000 borrowers have been approved for loan forgiveness. Missouri is among the states that defied the government’s plan and is home to the State of Missouri National Higher Education Lending Authority, better known as MOHELA.
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Whatever Happened to the President’s Plan for Mass Student Loan Debt Relief?
In August, Biden announced his plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000, or $250,000 for married couples.
The plan has since been challenged separately by six conservative states and the Job Creators Network Foundation’s Legal Action Fund, the latter on behalf of two student loan borrowers who were not eligible for full relief under the plan. Both parties have widely contested the executive branch’s power to write off student loan debt en masse.
The government, for its part, says a law passed after 9/11 gives the president authority to forgive student loan debts in the event of national emergencies. The Supreme Court accepted both cases and will hear arguments at the end of February. The decision is expected for the summer.
What Happened to Biden’s Free College Plan? Cutting the cost of higher education beyond the feds’ reach
What will happen if the Supreme Court strikes down Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan?
When asked by reporters, the government did not elaborate on whether it had an alternative plan to forgive debts if the Supreme Court overturned its plan.
“We are not deliberating or considering any other kind of alternative approach,” said Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council. “We are fully committed to the approach the Secretary of Education used in this case and are confident in our legal authority.”
How many borrowers are eligible for relief in states that are suing the government to stop the plan?
- Arkansas: 144,000
- Iowa: 169,000
- Kansas: 143,000
- Nebraska: 97,000
- Missouri: 305,000
- South Carolina: 282,000
Which states have the highest number of eligible borrowers?
These states have the highest number of approved applications, which, to some extent, correlate with their overall size:
- California: 1.5 million
- Texas: 1.4 million
- Florida: 1 million
- New York: 1 million
- Pennsylvania: 743,000
These are the states with the least number of approved borrowers, which include some of the least populated states in the country:
- South Dakota: 46,000
- Vermont: 33,000
- North Dakota: 32,000
- Alaska: 24,000
- Wyoming: 18,000
Are student loan payments still on hold?
Yes, the moratorium on student loan payments can last until June 30th. As part of the freeze, interest rates on student loans were set at 0% and collection agencies stopped their attempts to collect debts.
Please contact Chris Quintana at (202) 308-9021 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CQuintanadc
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