- by theguardian
- 21 Sep 2023
The fate of President Joe Biden's federal student loan forgiveness program, which promises to deliver up to $20,000 of debt relief for millions of borrowers, lies with the Supreme Court.
The justices heard arguments on February 28 in two cases concerning the forgiveness program, and a decision is expected by late June or early July.
About 26 million people had already applied by the time a federal district court judge struck down the program on November 10, 2022 - prompting the government to stop taking applications. No debt has been canceled thus far.
The administration officially launched the application on October 17, 2022, following a brief "beta period" during which its team assessed whether tweaks were needed.
If the Supreme Court ultimately allows the program to move forward, not every student loan borrower is eligible for the debt relief. First, only federally held student loans qualify. Private student loans are excluded.
Second, high-income borrowers are generally excluded from receiving debt forgiveness. Individual borrowers who make less than $125,000 a year and married couples or heads of households who make less than $250,000 annually could see up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.
If a qualifying borrower also received a federal Pell grant while enrolled in college, the individual is eligible for up to $20,000 of debt forgiveness. Pell grants are awarded to millions of low-income students each year, based on factors including their family's size and income and the cost charged by their college. These borrowers are also more likely to struggle to repay their student debt and end up in default.
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