Supreme Court agrees to hear another challenge to Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, leaves program on hold


The US Supreme Court announced Monday that it will hear arguments in a second case in February involving President Biden student loan forgiveness programwho is currently in custody.

The challenge was brought by two individual borrowers – Myra Brown and Alexander Taylor – who did not qualify for full debt relief and who say they were denied an opportunity to comment on the Education Secretary’s decision to grant targeted student loan debt relief to some.

The justices have already announced they will hear arguments in another case this term, a dispute brought by a group of states. The court did not say whether it would ultimately consolidate the two cases.

However, the court requested briefs on whether the challengers in the new case have the legal right or “standing” to file the case. The court also asked the parties to discuss whether Biden’s plan was “authorized by law” and adopted in a “proper procedural manner.”

The court said it would not for now lift a block on the program, which remains in effect.

Monday’s court action doesn’t change the status quo, as the program is already frozen while the legal challenges play out. However, this adds new claimants to the mix.

Biden’s program would offer up to $20,000 in debt relief to millions of qualified borrowers, but it has been met with legal challenges since it was announced.

Last month, the Biden administration started notifying people who are approved for federal student loan relief. About 26 million people had already applied for the program by the time it was frozen, prompting the government to stop accepting applications. No debt has been canceled so far.

In the case at hand, Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar had urged the justices to unblock the program and hear oral arguments this term. They agreed only to the last request.

“This is the second of two cases in which lower courts have entered nationwide injunctions blocking the Education Secretary’s plan to use his statutory powers to provide debt relief to student loan borrowers affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.” Prelogar claims in court documents.

The program is designed to help borrowers who are at the highest risk of delinquency or default. Once debt cancellation begins, the plan can offer up to $10,000 in student loan debt relief to eligible borrowers who make less than $125,000 ($250,000 per household.)

In addition, borrowers who received a Pell Grant can get up to $20,000 in relief.

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