WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Millions of Americans continue to wait for thousands of dollars in student loan relief, as the US Supreme Court will consider legal challenges to President Biden’s loan forgiveness plan.
Federal data signals women and people of color are poised to see the most widespread forgiveness.
Women take out federal student loans more than men–71% of women, compared to 64% of men, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
The president’s effort to forgive up to $20,000 in federal loans has been formally challenged by several Republican-backed states, including a lawsuit the US Supreme Court indicated they would consider in February.
Challengers argue President Biden does not have the authority to cancel widespread debt, while the White House claims provisions in the HEROES Act permits the move.
When it comes to race, more black borrowers take out federal loans compared to borrowers with other ethnicities–86% of black students borrowed federal loans according to the NCES, whose indicates their data was based on college enrollees in 2015 to 2016.
Two counties in the DMV are home to a majority of black residents; Prince George’s County and Charles County in Maryland, according to 2020 US Census data.
Shirley Lawson, a Prince George’s County resident, told DC News Now that the cost of college has prompted her to “limited meals,” adding that the stress “takes a lot. I had to start going back to therapy.
The Allegheny College of Maryland student added she, her mother and her siblings live with their grandfather due to personal hardship, saying, “it would be a great financial help,” to see loan forgiveness.
Two borrowers in p-g county told us they’re anxiously waiting for a decision on the loan program, and hope it tips toward their needs. Including having enough money to eat.\
Prince George’s County Resident, and Towson University alumnus, Arnel Jackson said, “It’s hard when you think about the fact that you have all these student loans to pay back, and you don’t have a secure way to pay them back.”
If the president’s loan forgiveness plan does not get approved, there are immediate opportunities for borrowers to save money, however, there are downsides.
Borrowers can refinance their loans for lower monthly rates, but that often means more time to pay them off. For those that paid federal loans when not required during the pandemic, borrowers can request a refund.
A pandemic-era moratorium on monthly federal student loan payments was extended by the Biden administration through June, so borrowers did not have to pay up before the nation’s highest court hears arguments surrounding the forgiveness plan.