Despite a judge’s order last week granting a temporary stay to President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loans, the White House is still urging borrowers to seek forgiveness.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said federal student loan borrowers are still encouraged to go to studentaid.gov to apply for loan forgiveness.
“The Ministry of Education will continue to review applications and prepare them for transmission to loan services. As of Friday, 22 million student borrowers have already requested this revolutionary relief,” said Jean-Pierre.
The judge’s stay came after six Republican-led states filed a lawsuit to try to prevent Biden’s plan from taking effect. A lower court had ruled that the states lacked standing, but an appeals court granted the stay.
The stay is not a final decision on this, but gives the court time to consider the case before allowing the administration to enforce the student loan forgiveness. The White House stressed that the order was “temporary”.
“What I can say: This is a temporary order, and we’re going to do everything we can to keep doing our outreach work and making sure people apply,” Jean-Pierre said.
All six states say Biden’s plan is too expensive. The Congressional Budget Office said the cost to the government of canceling student loans is estimated at $400 billion.
“A large majority of Americans have already paid off their student loans or have chosen not to pursue higher education at all,” said Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds. “By forcing them to pay other people’s loans — regardless of income — President Biden’s massive debt cancellation punishes these Americans and devalues the path they have chosen. This costly and illegal plan is an insult to workers and must be stopped.
Proponents of student loan forgiveness point to the rising cost of education over the past few decades. The cost of tuition at a four-year public university in 2020-21 averaged $9,400, up from $8,500 a decade earlier, after adjusting for inflation.
Government data shows that over the past three decades the cost of attending a public university, which is generally much more affordable than a private university, has doubled. Over the past 40 years, the cost has tripled.
A student attending a public university from 2017 to 2021 would have had to pay $38,093 in tuition and compulsory fees, in 2021 dollars. A person who attended a public university from 1977 to 1981 would have had to pay $10,335 in 2021 dollars .
Biden’s plan calls for borrowers with incomes up to $150,000 to receive up to $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness. This amount increases to $20,000 for borrowers who have received Pell Grants.