If President Joe Biden could cancel some student loans, so why can’t he cancel all student loan debt?
Here’s what you need to know.
If you follow the latest headlines on student loans, you know that Biden has forgiven $17 billion in student loans since becoming president. That’s a substantial amount of student debt, even though it’s only 1% of the total outstanding student debt of $1.7 trillion. If Biden Forgave Student Loan Debt, It Raises Questions of Whether He Could cancel all student loan debt. Let’s explore.
Student loan forgiveness: Can Biden forgive everyone’s student loan debt?
Proponents of large-scale student loan cancellation argue that Biden has existing legal authority to cancel student loans. According to their position, in the Higher Education Act of 1964, Congress granted legal authority to the President to enact large-scale student loan forgiveness through the United States Secretary of Education. Importantly, their position is that the president has unlimited legal authority to forgive an unlimited amount of student loan debt for each student borrower. So if Biden has the power to cancel student loans for some student borrowers, then he should have the power to cancel student loans for everyone. (Student Loan Forgiveness: 5 Key Takeaways from a Major Announcement).
Student loan cancellation: Why Biden can’t cancel everyone’s student loans
It is not settled law that Biden has the legal authority to enact large-scale student loan forgiveness. (Cancelling a student loan may be different than you think). Yes, the Higher Education Act of 1964 empowers the President, through the Secretary of Education, to cancel student loans, but opponents argue that Congress never granted unlimited authority to cancel a unlimited amount of student loan debt for an unlimited number of student borrowers. It is rare for Congress – the branch of government that makes laws and controls federal spending – to abdicate its full authority under the US Constitution to the executive branch. While the Higher Education Act grants the president certain powers to cancel or modify student debt, opponents say the language does not explicitly state that the president has unlimited and unchecked legal power to enact large-scale cancellation. student loans for every student borrower. . If Congress wanted the President to have such broad legal authority, Congress would have explicitly said so in the text.
So why doesn’t the president enact large-scale student loan forgiveness if he has already forgiven some student debt?
So if the president canceled student loan debt, why can’t he cancel all student loan debt? It is important to emphasize the distinction between targeted student loan cancellation and large-scale student loan cancellation. Yes, Biden has forgiven $17 billion in student loans since becoming president. However, Biden has focused on targeted student loan cancellation based on existing laws and programs. For example, Biden has forgiven student loans through civil service loan forgiveness, total and permanent disability discharge, and defending borrowers from student loan repayment. These are all existing student loan forgiveness programs that are available through the federal government. Biden has worked with the US Department of Education, Social Security Administration and US Department of Veterans Affairs, for example, to streamline student loan forgiveness. By relaxing rules, reducing requirements and sharing data, Biden has given more student loan forgiveness to student borrowers. However, this student loan forgiveness is different from seeking full-scale student loan forgiveness that has not been explicitly approved by Congress and the US Department of Education. (No, Biden is not canceling most student loan debt). Therefore, while Biden has canceled some student loan debt under existing federal programs, that does not mean he has the legal authority to cancel all student loan debt under the Education Act. superior or other federal law.
The Biden administration is reviewing its legal authority to cancel student loans, and Biden is still considering large-scale student loan forgiveness. That said, there’s no guarantee that Biden will write off everyone’s student loan debt, or that he will in the short term. With temporary student loan relief ending August 31, 2022, now is the time to consider your best options for student loan repayment. Here are some popular ways student borrowers use to repay their student loans: