President Joe Biden's plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt per borrower just faced yet another major setback.
On Wednesday, a federal appeals court denied the Biden administration's request to place a hold on a Texas federal judge's ruling that blocked the implementation of the student loan forgiveness plan. This most recent rejection of Biden's loan forgiveness plan is the third major setback for the program in recent weeks. While the Supreme Court agreed on Thursday to issue a final ruling on the policy, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Biden administration's plan to enact sweeping student loan forgiveness is in grave danger.
In August, the Biden administration announced that the Department of Education would be forgiving up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower. According to the proposal, all borrowers making less than $125,000 annually, or married couples making less than $250,000 annually, were eligible for $10,000 of loan forgiveness, rising to $20,000 if the borrower was a Pell Grant recipient.
However, the plan faced swift criticism—and legal challenges. On November 10, a Texas federal judge ruled the program unconstitutional and unlawful. Just four days later, a Missouri appeals court placed an injunction against the program pending further appeals.
As if this wasn't bad enough for loan forgiveness supporters, on Wednesday, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied the Biden administration's request to place a hold on the Texas federal judge's ruling.
The 5th Circuit's ruling was brief, and it did not contain an explanation from the judges. According to Bloomberg, Biden administration officials say they plan to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, as they have already done with the injunction placed by the Missouri appeals court.
"We are confident in our legal authority to carry out the student debt relief program and will be taking this fight to the Supreme Court as well," White House spokesman Abdullah Hasan told Bloomberg. "Republican officials and special interests are trying to rob middle-class families of the relief they need and deserve, but the president doesn't back down from a fight, especially one for middle-class families."
Despite pending appeals, it seems increasingly unlikely that sweeping student loan forgiveness will be enacted. The continued setbacks to the program come as a welcome reprieve for critics of the plan, who point out not just the insane cost of the program—as high as $1 trillion according to some estimates—but also the fact that the plan does little to solve the problem of ridiculously high college tuition.
Biden's vision for massive student loan forgiveness is increasingly unlikely to come to fruition, and this most recent rejection from a federal court serves as clear vindication for those who warned that the plan was a dangerous overreach of executive authority.