(KRON)– Over the weekend, millions of Americans received good and bad news about their student loan debt. The good news is that they were approved to have thousands of dollars forgiven.
However, they won’t see a decrease in their debt until the matter is settled in court. KRON4 looks into a long a Supreme Court ruling could take and the reaction from college grads sitting in waiting.
When President Joe Biden promised up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness back in August, he did so without Congressional Approval. Republicans call it an overreach of executive authority.
“We’re not going to back down on our fight to give families breathing room,” Biden said.
He announced this week that he’ll be extending the pause on Federal Student Loan Payments, which was set to expire in January.
Six republican led states are suing to deny the student debt relief the president promised this summer. KRON4 spoke with legal analyst Steve Clark about the legal claims by Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina.
“This affects our bottom line. We receive revenue from this debt service and by forgiving it you are hurting our state coffers,” Clark said.
The U.S. Department of Justice has asked the Supreme Court to hear the case so that the 16 million who have already been approved will know if they’ll have thousands forgiven or not.
Clark said the first decision the court will likely make is if there should be an injunction against the federal government for forgiving the debt, but those answers won’t come quickly.
“Major issues like this usually take years to work their way through the courts; you saw that with marriage equality and other significant civil rights issues,” Clark said.
One person who is paying close attention to debt relief is John Paul Horn. The Assistant Professor of Social Work at Cal State University, East Bay has student loans worth a quarter of a million dollars.
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He went to college for 15 years and got his doctorate so that he could work in higher education. Horn hopes the 9 Supreme Court justices rule in favor of the loan forgiveness program.
“Rhetoric of it’s really good to forgive debt of these large corporations and large businesses, but forgiving the debt of Joe American is bad because it puts them in a better position, but I’m like why is that a bad thing,” Horn says.
While millions wait in limbo, the pause on federal student loan repayments will extend until 60 days after the lawsuit is resolved. If that doesn’t happen by June 30th, then payments will start back up 60 days after that.
Those with the most at risk here are the 18 million borrowers who would have their entire loan balance canceled. The U.S. Department of Education says even if payments restart next year, those borrowers might think they’re in the clear and ignore the bills.