Student Loan Forgiveness: Timeline of Events Leading Up To the Supreme Court Review

US Biden, Zumpango, Mexico - 08 Jan 2023
Fernando Llano / AP /

The road to student loan forgiveness is a long and winding one since President Joe Biden announced the much-anticipated administration’s program on Aug. 24, 2022. Following several lawsuits and injunctions, the Supreme Court will finally hear cases in February.

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Here’s a timeline of the events leading up to it.

Aug. 24, 2022: The administration announced the plan, under which up to $10,000 in federal student debt relief may be offered to borrowers whose income in 2020 or 2021 was less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for households). For Pell Grant recipients, that amount increases to up to $20,000 in student loan cancellation. If you are a dependent student, your eligibility is based on your parental income. Most federal loans are eligible, including undergraduate and graduate direct loans, parent PLUS and grad PLUS loans, consolidation loans. Federal family education loan (FFEL) program loans held by ED, Perkins loans held by ED, and defaulted loans, according to Learn more here.

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Sept. 29, 2022: Six Republican-led states — Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina — filed a lawsuit against Biden’s program, alleging that “Biden violated federal law, the constitutional principle of separation of powers and the Administrative Procedure Act when he skirted congressional authority to implement this policy.”

Oct. 18, 2022: Student loan forgiveness application website launches after 8 million Americans take part in beta test. Here’s what was announced.

Oct. 21, 2022: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit issued an injunction pausing the program while it was reviewing the lawsuit filed by six states. Learn more here.

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Nov. 10, 2022: A federal judge in Texas struck down the program on Nov. 10, saying that the law “does not provide the executive branch clear congressional authorization to create a $400 billion student loan forgiveness program,” according to court documents. Learn more here.

Nov. 14, 2022: A federal appeals court issued a nationwide injunction on Nov. 14 temporarily barring President Joe Biden’s student loan debt relief program. Learn more here.

“Student Loan Debt Relief Is Blocked. Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders.” NOTICE
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Nov. 18, 2022: The administration turned to the Supreme Court to vacate the nationwide injunction put in place on Nov. 14 by a federal appeals court, temporarily barring President Joe Biden’s student loan debt relief program. Learn more here.

Nov. 22 and 23, 2022: About 9 million Americans received erroneous emails in November saying that their application for the Biden administration’s student debt relief program had been approved. Find out what happened here.

Nov. 22, 2022: The administration announced that the student loan pause, which was set to end Dec. 31, 2022, will be extended to the end of June 2023, as it awaits the Supreme Court’s review of its student debt relief program, the White House announced on Nov. 22. Get further details here.

Nov. 30, 2022: A federal court declined to reverse a ruling blocking Biden’s student debt relief program on Nov. 30. The three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit unanimously rejected the administration’s request to reverse a Texas judge’s ruling that is blocking the student debt relief program, according to court filings. Learn more here.

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Dec. 1, 2022: The Supreme Court said it would hear President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program in February, a move the administration called “welcomed.” But meanwhile, the program is paused, leaving millions of borrowers waiting for a decision. Learn more here.

“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to hear the case on our student debt relief plan for middle and working class borrowers this February.”

Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre in a statement posted on the White House website

Dec. 12, 2022: The Supreme Court announced it will hear arguments — also in February — in a second case regarding the student debt relief program. Learn more here.

Dec. 13, 2022: Letters correcting mistaken student loan relief approval were sent. Find out what they said here.

Jan. 4, 2023: the Biden administration officially filed a legal brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in which they defended the plan to provide relief to 45 million American student loan borrowers. Learn more here.

Jan. 5, 2023: The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an 86-page brief with the Supreme Court on Jan. 4 regarding President Joe Biden’s halted student loan forgiveness program, arguing that the Education Secretary’s “actions fall comfortably within the law” and that his plan “is both reasonable and reasonably explained.” Learn more here.

Jan. 12, 2023: Dozens of organizations and individuals — including civil rights groups, labor unions, legal experts and state governments — filed amicus briefs with the Supreme Court. Get the details here.

Jan. 20, 2023: Arizona’s new Democratic attorney general Kris Mayes dismissed the lawsuit. Find out more here.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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