HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – In less than a week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases challenging President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program. The program accepted about 26 million applicants before legal challenges brought it to a halt.
Shortly after President Biden announced his plans to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for millions of Americans, it was hit with lawsuits.
“Most people think the Supreme Court should decide whether this is fair, whether this is a good program, and that’s not what the court is going to do,” said Michael Dimino, Professor of Law at Widener University Commonwealth Law School.
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Dimino says there are other questions in this case aside from whether the program is fair.
“Did the President have the authority to implement this program and do the courts have the authority to say anything about it?” said Dimino. “The Supreme Court reaches the merits only if it says that it has jurisdiction and the only way the Supreme Court has jurisdiction, the only way they have a case, is if you have the right kind of plaintiff.”
The U.S. Supreme Court will first have to look at whether plaintiffs are injured by the program. A federal appeals court in Missouri froze forgiveness after six GOP-led states sued, alleging the debt cancellation is a government overreach that would harm their state’s revenue.
“As to what way the case is going to come out or which justices are going to vote which way, nobody knows that and nobody will know until the decision is released this summer,” said Dimino.
In the meantime, borrowers can prepare for either outcome. Payments are currently paused by scheduled to resume 60 days after the U.S. Supreme Court releases its final ruling or 60 days after June 30, whichever comes first.
Financial experts say it’s important not to wait to look at your financial situation.
“It’s not enough time because you’re gambling on the fact that they already have their decision made,” said Alexander Langan, Chief Investment Officer of Langan Group Financial.
Langan says a federal student aid website can help.
“They will actually show you your repayment options so you can look at hopefully lowing payments, remember what your original payment was, it’s been a couple of years and if you’re struggling with payments, they even have a spot where you can go and check on how you can reduce, hopefully, your payments,” said Langan.
If the U.S. Supreme Court upholds President Biden’s decision, borrowers could start receiving student loan forgiveness shortly after. If the high court strikes it down, the Biden Administration would likely seek other options to cancel debt.