GOP opposition to the Biden administration’s student forgiveness program was handed a victory on Friday (October 21) when a federal appeals court granted a temporary block to the program.
In its ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit declared that the program to forgive federal student loan debt be put on hold while appeals play out and gave the Biden administration until Monday (October 24) evening to respond.
In August, Biden announced a plan to forgive $10,000 in student loan debt to borrowers making less than $125,000 a year or $20,000 to students who benefited from a Pell grant.
Then, on Monday (October 17), Biden announced that applications for the loan forgiveness were open, revealing on Friday — before the verdict — that 22 million people had applied.
Biden’s optimistic announcement came after a federal district judge dismissed a lawsuit by Wisconsin taxpayers.
But following Friday’s ruling, it’s unclear when — or if — the program will resume.
The contentious decision by the Biden administration to introduce federal student loan forgiveness comes as borrowers prepare to resume repayments at the beginning of next year when pandemic loan freezes will come to an end.
The Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness plan has been challenged in multiple lawsuits.
But, despite many legal challenges arguing the administration is overreaching its Congressional authority, the Biden administration argues it has the authority to enact sweeping debt cancellation through the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003.
The law permits the secretary of Education to cancel student loan debt of borrowers in times of “national emergency.”