Steve Coon Blog
Student Loan Forgiveness is illegal and the Supreme Court should say so.
The Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard arguments this week about President Biden’s proposed student loan forgiveness program.
Complicating the debate are two issues—one legal, the other moral.
SCOTUS is addressing only the legal question—whether the administration has the power to wipe away millions of dollars in debt that student owe to lenders.
The White House claims it can do this under the 2003 Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act (HEROES).
Mr. Biden declared March 13, 2020, that the Covid-19 pandemic was a national emergency.
The HEROES act clearly specifies eligibility for “Persons who suffer economic hardship as a result of a war or military operation, or national emergency.”
Several entities have challenged the presidential action by asserting that the president did not have the authority to do this. And some students claim they were ruled ineligible for forgiveness because the government does recognize the lenders.
SCOTUS is expected to hand down its ruling by this summer. But it seems clear to this observer that the President overstepped the boundaries established by HEROES. And students did not suffer financially because of the pandemic. Even when they stayed away from campus, they took courses online and there was no interruption in their academic progress.
The moral question, of course, is much easier to answer. Students who borrowed the money for post-secondary education must repay their loans. The terms of repayment could be modified to make this obligation possible. But to walk away from a financial commitment would be wrong.
I am sympathetic to students who are shackled with crushing debt. But they made unwise decisions when they applied for and accepted the money. That is their fault.
However, that is an issue unrelated to the cases before the Supreme Court. And any resolution of that lies elsewhere.