Debt relief on hold

Michelle Peace Photos

By Lillian Lewis

On Feb. 28th, The Student Loan Debt Relief Plan made its way to the Supreme Court. Until two cases are decided, students can no longer apply for Student Loan Debt Relief. 

The student loan payment pause that was planned to expire on Dec. 31 of last year was extended until the end of June to allow for the Supreme Court to hear the two lawsuits.  If the debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been settled on June 30, 2023, student payments will resume 60 days after. 

Two significant lawsuits block student loan forgiveness. Biden v. Nebraska was filed by Republican officials in six states who argue that President Biden was overstepping his authority as president by planning to cancel these loans. These states also claim that the cancellation of these loans would leave financial harm to businesses that service loans. 

U.S. Department of Education v. Brown was filed by the Job Creators Network Foundation on behalf of student loan borrowers Alexander Taylor and Myra Brown. Under Biden’s plan, Taylor qualifies for $10,000 of debt relief; however, he does not qualify for the $10,000 in forgiveness reserved for recipients of Pell Grants, a form of federal aid for low-income students.

The idea of Student Debt Relief is not a new or unique one. Many states have their own version of student debt relief. North Carolina has the Forgivable Education Loans for Service. This service is available to NC residents seeking jobs that have an employment shortage such as teachers, dental hygienists, and lawyers. 

Valerie Clem-Brown, William Peace University’s  financial aid director, entered the financial aid field because she wanted to help other students understand their financial responsibilities, having similar struggles when she was a student. 

Brown insists that students need to understand the pros and cons of these loans when signing up for these programs. 

“The programs like that can be great,” she said. “But you do have to do your research on them and know what you’re agreeing to and know what the consequences are if you can’t meet that agreement.”

Brown encourages students to finish their degree no matter the financial situation or how long it may take. 

“I always tell students, no matter what your goal is, like, as long as you’re working toward it, the timeline doesn’t matter,” she said. “It took me 10 years to finish my bachelor’s degree, and I’m perfectly fine with that.” 

Students are encouraged to visit the financial aid office with any questions they may have about their financial issues, particularly in regards to the new FASFA change for the 2023-2024 school year.