For some of the 2.4 million New Yorkers burdened by federal student loan debt, the late-summer announcement that President Biden will push his Biden Debt Relief Plan for student loan borrowers.
On August 24, Biden announced that his administration would cancel up to $10,000 in debt for Americans earning up to $125,000 per year, and $20,000 for low-income borrowers receiving Pell Grants, fulfilling a campaign promise.
But now, after six Republican-led states sued over the plan and the Supreme Court signaled its willingness to overturn it, New York debtors wonder if the miracle was a mirage.
Shari Seraneau, 36, a recruitment coordinator at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, said Biden Debt Relief Plan would reduce her debt from $36,000 to a more manageable $16,000.
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Seraneau, who attended Seton Hall University before transferring to Long Island University before graduating in 2009, has yet to focus on the Supreme Court battle.
The court heard two challenges to Biden’s $400 billion plan to wipe out debt for 43 million American borrowers on Tuesday.
The lead suit in the case, filed by Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina governments, claims the president lacked clear congressional authorization to wipe out debt on such a large scale.
The Biden Debt Relief Plan followed a 2003 law known as the HEROES Act, which allows the Education Department to waive or modify financial aid programs in times of national emergency.
Kavanaugh and another conservative, Chief Justice John Roberts, are widely regarded as the two justices most likely to side with the three liberals on politically charged cases. Roberts, too, appeared unconvinced by the administration’s case.
If there is any hope for Biden’s Debt Relief Plan, it may be in a procedural question: whether the six Republican-led states — and two borrowers who joined a secondary suit, claiming they were unfairly denied full access to the program — had legal standing to challenge the program in the first place.
Democrats appear pessimistic about the plan’s chances of being saved by the standing issue.
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