The Legal Fight for Student Debt Forgiveness Is Underway
In August, President Joe Biden announced that his administration would be implementing a one-time student loan debt relief program for Americans with student loan debt. Since the announcement, the administration has posted guidance on the Department of Education’s website that explains the plan in detail and attempts to answer some FAQs. The website outlining the plan states that $10,000 worth of debt would be forgiven for Americans making less than $125,000 a year who have outstanding federal student loans. For those who received Pell Grants to pay for college, up to $20,000 worth of student loan debt would be forgiven. The website states that “the Administration will launch a simple application in October” that must be completed by the end of the year to determine whether borrowers qualify for debt forgiveness. That application is now available on the Federal Student Aid website.
Employer Compliance with CARES Act
On March 27, 2020, President Donald J. Trump signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (H.R. 748), otherwise known as the “CARES” Act. Originally introduced in January as the Middle-Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act, the bill was then revised to address the needs of the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic. The bi-partisan CARES Act, with strong support from the White House, ultimately passed the House of Representatives with a 419-6 roll call and the Senate with 96-0 votes.
Release of Department of Education’s Final Institutional Accountability Regulations
After two years of deliberation, public comment, and litigation, the Department of Education has released its final regulations for an overhaul of borrower defense to repayment claims. On August 30, 2019, the Department of Education released a press brief outlining new regulations set to take place on July 1, 2020. The new rules maintain that they are in place to create “streamlined and fair procedures that ensure basic due process for both borrowers and institutions.” Touting an anticipated savings of $11.1 billion dollars in savings to taxpayers over a ten-year span, the new regulations will likely make it more difficult for students to have their student loans forgiven. However, because of a missed deadline by the Department of Education, an Obama-era rule that favors borrowers by offering a transparent process for handling their claims, as well as automatic forgiveness of loans for some borrowers, is effective until that time.