Biden administration suspends requests for student loan relief

MINNEAPOLIS On the issue of student debt relief, millions of Americans are now stuck in a financial vacuum after a federal judge struck down the president’s pardon program.

For now, that means the Biden administration is not accepting new claims for relief as it appeals the decision.

The debate over whether this was the right political decision is almost irrelevant. The fact is, President Joe Biden’s debt cancellation program has created an opportunity for 26 million Americans to sign up and wait for the promised relief.

“I knew I wanted to go into the field of psychology and social work, and I learned while working that you kind of had to have a master’s degree in that field,” Sarah Hardy said.

Hardy, a Saint Mary graduate, originally planned to wait a few more years for her graduate school, but when Biden launched the pardon program, Hardy saw an opportunity to bank on the relief and kick off her enrollment. She is now in her first semester.

“It’s hard. I won’t belittle this. It makes me think I should start taking money out of my paychecks again to get a head start I’m accumulating?” said Hardy. “We’re doing these things to advance our education so we can get better jobs and have a home, and it’ll set me back a bit and change the timeline of where I want things to go in the future. .”

The US Department of Education reports that some 780,000 Minnesotans like Hardy have student loan debt, which combined is $26 billion. Biden’s plan, presented last summer, called for paychecks to arrive before Jan. 1, when interest on student loans would resume after a COVID-19 pause.

The administration’s appeal now goes from a Texas judge to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one level below the Supreme Court. And anyone familiar with the legal process knows that nothing happens quickly. That means for students like Hardy, it’s a wait-and-see approach. But at least she applied, and it’s not going anywhere.

“I don’t have kids, I don’t have a mortgage. There are people out there that it’s a lot harder for them than it is for me,” Hardy said.

The current case in Texas is one of many legal challenges against Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, including an ongoing lawsuit from six other states that is heading to another circuit appeals court.

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