The Supreme Court has ruled against Biden’s plan to forgive student loans

President Joe Biden’s efforts to forgive nearly $400 billion in student loans appeared to be in jeopardy during a hearing at the conservative-dominated US Supreme Court, AFP reported. In the arguments presented today, the majority of the judges indicated that, in their opinion, Biden exceeded his powers by adopting the costly program without special authorization from Congress, BGNES reported.

Their eventual decision on the lawsuit filed by conservative states could have a huge impact on millions of American households who must pay for college costs years and even decades after graduation.

Chief Justice John Roberts said the case raised “extremely serious” questions about the separation of powers between the executive and legislative branches. “Congress shouldn’t have been surprised when half a trillion dollars was wiped out of the accounts” because of Biden’s policies, he said. “If student debt is such an important issue and Congress hasn’t addressed it, it could be a ‘good lesson’ for the president not to act alone,” Roberts added. But outside the court, debt-ridden students paying years of fees at the world’s most expensive universities said they needed relief. Omamus Ogenyi, just 20 years old, already owes $31,000 on his tuition to earn a degree in neuroscience at the University of Virginia. “It’s a very precarious state,” he says. “It doesn’t allow us to be sure of our future, our career, because we have this overwhelming burden to pay off,” he said.

Nearly 43 million Americans own $1.6 trillion in federal student loans, and some end up paying them off over decades as they start jobs and families. Biden’s plan to reduce debt came amid a freeze on student loan payments put in place by his predecessor Donald Trump during the Covid pandemic. With loan payments still frozen, in August he offered to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for low- and moderate-income individuals, the amount depending on the individual’s income. Based on the number of applications, the federal bill for this would be about $400 billion.

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