Can Biden still cancel student loans if the Supreme Court overturns loan forgiveness?

Save the biggest for last? This is what the US Supreme Court appears to be doing.

The country’s highest court has already delivered several rulings in recent weeks. However, the results of several of the most important cases are yet to be known.

Millions of Americans are anxiously awaiting the court’s decision on challenges to President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. But if the Supreme Court overturns loan forgiveness, can Biden still cancel student loan debt?

US Supreme Court building with image of cash.

Image Source: Getty Images.

what the president can’t Doing

First of all it is important to understand what a President is can’t Do this if the US Supreme Court strikes down his student loan forgiveness plan. For example, he would not be able to extend the moratorium on repayment of student loans once again.

President Biden has taken this step many times before. However, the agreement to raise the debt ceiling specifically included language that prohibited such unilateral action from going forward.

The President’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan relies on the Higher Education Relief for Students Opportunity Act (HEROES Act) to justify student loan forgiveness. The act gives the US Secretary of Education the authority to modify the terms of student loans or forgive loans during a national emergency. If the Supreme Court strikes down Biden’s plan, he would not be able to use the HEROES Act as the basis for any alternative way to forgive student loans.

Who else?

One possible option for Biden to forgive student loans is to use a different legal basis for the plan. Some argue that the President can use the Higher Education Act of 1965.

That 1965 law allows the Secretary of Education to “compromise, waive, or release any right, title, claim, lien or demand, including any equity or right of redemption, regardless of how much it may have been accrued.” ” At first glance, this language appears to give the White House the power to forgive student loans.

Others, however, maintain that the context of the law limits the executive branch. The Biden administration could have chosen to base the original student loan forgiveness plan on the 1965 act, but it did not. Moving forward with a new strategy relying on the Higher Education Act of 1965 “is seen as a lengthy effort within the administration,” according to Washington Post,

most likely way forward

Student loan forgiveness is a path most likely for Biden. He may try to pressure Congress into passing new legislation that authorizes at least some student loan forgiveness.

Admittedly, the chances of success in passing such a bill are slim at present. Many in the GOP, which holds a majority in the US House of Representatives, oppose forgiving student loans.

But if the Supreme Court overturns his plan, Biden will surely make the student loan issue a central part of his presidential campaign. The issue could also be a significant factor in some congressional races. It’s possible the president could win support for a student loan plan in a second term, depending on the composition of the next Congress.

be prepared

All of this will be a contentious issue if the Supreme Court upholds Biden’s student loan plan. We will know the decision of the High Court soon.

Americans struggling with student debt will probably want to follow the old advice to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. There are several steps you can take to prepare to resume making student loan payments.

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