ACLU Comment on Supreme Court’s Ruling Against Student Debt Relief Plan

June 30, 2023 12:00 pm

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court today struck down the Biden administration’s student debt relief plan, which would have allowed eligible borrowers to cancel up to $20,000 in debt. An estimated 43 million people were eligible to participate in the debt relief program.

ReNika Moore, director of the ACLU’s Racial Justice Program, had the following reaction:

“The Supreme Court ended this term with two major blows to economic and educational opportunity for students of color in America. The court’s decisions on affirmative action and student loan debt effectively deliver a one-two punch to millions of Americans, locking them out of economic opportunity and worsening wealth inequality in this country. Higher education should be accessible to everyone, regardless of economic status or background.

“This ruling against student debt relief hurts all borrowers, but particularly borrowers of color. The volatile economic effects of COVID-19 forced many families to use existing assets like their home equity or family support as a safety net, but Black and Latino borrowers have far fewer financial resources to fall back on.

“We urge the Biden administration and the Department of Education to move quickly to explore other pathways to ease the debt load on student loan borrowers once payments resume after a pandemic-related pause, including new executive action under the Higher Education Act, a law that allows for student loan relief for certain groups.”

The American Civil Liberties Union joined the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and 20 other organizations in filing an amicus brief in January 2023 urging the Supreme Court to uphold the student debt relief program as lawfully enacted.


These cases are part of the ACLU’s Joan and Irwin Jacobs Supreme Court Docket.



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