Last year, Biden announced a plan to give student loan relief to many in the higher education system. College in itself is expensive right now, leaving many to question the worth of even going to college in the first place because of the debt that comes with it. That’s something the Biden administration has made clear and something they’ve had an issue with. They wanted to combat this with a student loan forgiveness plan.
In a White House briefing, the Biden administration made clear what student loan forgiveness will look like. “The Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education, and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples). No high-income individual or high-income household – in the top 5% of incomes – will benefit from this action.’’
Before repayments could even go out, the plan got sued and ridiculed by people who oppose the idea of giving current students and graduates debt relief. Which ultimately led to the plan being paused until a Supreme Court hearing could occur. Fast forward to now, after the Supreme Court hearing, when many are skeptical if the loan forgiveness will even come to fruition. But why won’t it?
Slates Tess Wilkinson-Ryan wrote a piece on why people are so mad about this plan. She writes, “Why these debts and not others? Why them and not me? These are rhetorical questions, and they have a rhetorical purpose: to frame student loan forgiveness as a sucker’s game…the consistent message from its opponents has been that advocates of student debt relief are playing you, specifically, for the fool.”
Mike Gallagher, a Republican member of Congress from Wisconsin, announced that the move was a “massive slap in the face to any student who worked to pay off their debt”; other angry commentators described it as a “middle finger” to hardworking Americans. There is an unusual physicality to these laments, a sense of personal disrespect.”
Tess’ observations aren’t surprising, but they definitely highlight the power these politicians have in making narratives that fit their agendas, and that’s not limited to one party either.
Alia Wong and Chris Quintana of USA Today had this to say about the Supreme Court hearing: “Last week, a conservative-leaning U.S. Supreme Court signaled skepticism of broad debt forgiveness as it heard arguments in two cases taking issue with Biden’s plan. And on Friday, the refinancing firm SoFi filed a separate lawsuit seeking to end the pandemic-era pause on student loan payments.” More context into why SoFi made its own lawsuit is that student loans from their bank are one of the ways they make a profit.
The Biden administration has been pausing student loan repayments for Americans for the last couple of years. SoFi doesn’t like that because they make money off of repayments. So if there’s any way they can unpause repayments, they’re going to try. Even though the Supreme Court heard what both sides had to say about the legitimacy and legality of this student loan forgiveness plan, A decision won’t be announced until closer to the summer (June–July).
For the time being, you can use any electronic device to see how conservatives, liberals, and everyone in between feel about the student loan forgiveness plan and whether it will ever be implemented.
Isaiah Ireland is a second-year media and culture major with a minor in digital marketing. II978280@wcupa.edu.