Following a setback at the Supreme Court regarding the Biden administration’s original student loan forgiveness plan, a new strategy has been announced, aiming to provide relief this year. However, the revised aid package is expected to benefit far fewer people, and it may face legal challenges similar to the initial plan.
Comparison Between Plan A and Plan B:
- Plan A: The original plan aimed to provide relief to nearly 40 million Americans, covering over 90% of federal student loan borrowers. However, the Supreme Court ruled it too far-reaching.
- Plan B: The new forgiveness policy is expected to be narrower and focused on specific groups of borrowers. Potential beneficiaries include those with current balances greater than their original borrowings, borrowers who entered repayment 20 or 25 years ago, attendees of programs of questionable value, those eligible for existing relief programs, and debtors in financial hardship.
Estimated Eligibility for Plan B:
- Between 4 million and 10 million borrowers may be eligible for the revised forgiveness program.
- Eligibility criteria will be clarified when the final rule is published.
- Biden’s original attempt used an executive order and promised relief within six weeks. The new approach involves the rulemaking process, which is lengthier and includes a public comment period.
- Anticipated timeline: Proposed rule by March, potential public comment period, final rule by November, and relief in effect by July 1, 2025.
Possibility of Earlier Implementation:
- The Biden administration may aim to expedite the process for Plan B, potentially implementing the new regulations before the election for political significance.
Anticipated Legal Challenges:
- Republican opposition is expected, leading to lawsuits seeking to block the new relief, which could cause delays.
- The legal challenges may create a sharp contrast between Democrats and Republicans ahead of elections.
Public Opinion and Political Landscape:
- Republican nominees have opposed student loan forgiveness, claiming legal and fairness concerns.
- Voters, however, support forgiving at least some student loan debt by a 2-to-1 margin, according to a Politico/Morning Consult poll.
The revised student loan forgiveness plan (Plan B) is expected to provide relief to a smaller group of borrowers, and its implementation timeline and success may be influenced by legal challenges and the political landscape.