President Joe Biden suggested on Friday that he was looking for another avenue to deliver student debt relief after the Supreme Court rejected his forgiveness plan.
“Today’s decision has closed one path,” Biden said during a briefing Friday. “Now we’re going to pursue another.”
Biden says his administration will attempt to deliver a different loan forgiveness program under the Higher Education Act. The 1965 law allows the secretary of education to “compromise, waive or release any right, title, claim, lien or demand, however acquired, including any equity or any right of redemption.”
The president didn’t provide many details about how this new approach might work, but said it was “legally sound.”
In a 6-3 decision, the court’s conservative majority struck down Biden’s plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for tens of millions of Americans. The high court said the president didn’t have the authority to instruct his Education secretary to cancel such a large amount of consumer debt without authorization from Congress.
Consumer advocates said the debt cancelation shouldn’t die with the Supreme Court ruling.
“Biden must use another legal authority to deliver on this crucial obligation, and he must do so without delay,” said Astra Taylor, co-founder of the Debt Collective, a union of debtors.
Other relief measures after forgiveness is nixed
The president also said that his administration’s new payment plan, which slashes monthly bills in half for many student loan borrowers, would be available before payments resume.
Federal student loan payments have been on pause since March 2020.
After student loan bills restart, there will also be a 12-month period during which borrowers won’t face the harshest consequences of missing payments, including negative credit reports and collection activity.
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