Student debt relief can go “full speed ahead” despite a temporary hold, the Education Secretary has promised



CNN

The head of the Department of Education pledged on Saturday to continue “full speed ahead” on plans to implement President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program, after a federal appeals court issued a temporary stay preventing the administration from canceling covered loans. according to the policy, while it is being reviewed.

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona redoubled the administration’s commitment to student debt relief in an op-ed published Saturday, encouraging those eligible to continue applying through the direct online application.

“Amidst some Republicans trying to block the Administration’s debt relief program in any way possible, the department is moving full speed ahead with preparations to legalize our program so we can provide relief to borrowers who need it most,” Cardona wrote in the US. today

“Already, 22 million people have provided the department with the information we need to analyze their right to write off student debt. We encourage borrowers to continue applying for debt relief at studentaid.gov,” he continued.

In a couple Video posted on TwitterCardona cited “baseless” lawsuits as Republican-led states lash out at the program.

Cardona stressed that nearly 90 percent of the debt relief plan’s benefits would go to those making less than $75,000 a year, according to Department of Education estimates. He also highlighted Republicans’ arguments that Cardona said they did not file a lawsuit when they received benefits from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program.

“These elected officials only have a problem when relief is given to working and middle-class Americans,” Cardona argued in his op-ed.

“This program will help lenders by providing relief after the economic disruptions caused by the pandemic. President Biden and this administration will never stop fighting for millions of student and loan borrowers across the country, no matter what elected officials or lawsuits try to stop us,” Cardona added. .

Late Friday, a federal appeals court placed a temporary administrative stay on Biden’s student loan forgiveness program to prevent the government from canceling loans covered under the policy while the court hears a challenge.

The order from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes in a case brought by six Republican-led states seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the policy after a district court dismissed the case earlier this week. The effort is separate from a challenge by a group of Wisconsin taxpayers to the program that was recently struck down by the Supreme Court.

The appeals court gave the administration until Monday to respond to the states’ request, and the states will have until Tuesday to respond. The states asked the appeals court to act before Sunday, the first date the Biden administration said it would issue student loan forgiveness.

After Friday’s ruling, the White House encouraged borrowers to apply for relief, despite the holdup.

The suit, filed last month, was dismissed on October 20 by a lower court judge, who ruled that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to appeal, CNN previously reported.

The Biden administration is also facing lawsuits from Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and conservative groups such as the Job Creators Network Foundation and the Cato Institute.

Many of the legal challenges argue that the Biden administration lacks the legal authority to cancel student loan debt across the board.

Attorneys for the government argue that Congress gave the Education Secretary the power to pay off the debt in a 2003 law known as the HEROES Act, CNN previously reported.

Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, first announced in August, aims to pay off millions in federal student loan debt after a nearly three-year pause in federal student loan payments in January due to the pandemic.

Under Biden’s plan, borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021 and spouses or heads of household who earned less than $250,000 a year in those years will receive up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt.

If a qualified borrower also received a federal Pell grant while enrolled in college, the individual is eligible for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness.