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Student loan forgiveness: What to know as the Supreme Court mulls case

(NEXSTAR) – Within the next month or so – but likely sooner – millions of federal student loan borrowers will know whether or not they’ll see thousands of dollars in debt erased from their accounts. 

The Supreme Court is expected to make a ruling in two cases that sought to halt President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loans for over 44 million Americans. 

As we get closer to the Supreme Court’s decision, here are four things to know.

When will SCOTUS make their decision?

While there is no firm answer to this as of yet, the decision is expected before the end of June. The Supreme Court typically releases major rulings in May or June. 

If SCOTUS rules in favor of student loan forgiveness, how many would receive relief?

The White House has previously said that roughly 44 million Americans would benefit from Biden’s proposed student loan forgiveness. 

While the application for debt relief was open – before the process was quickly halted by legal challenges – in the fall, 26 million applications were accepted. Of those, 16.5 million were fully approved and passed along to loan servicers for discharge. 

Data released by the U.S. Department of Education in response to a Freedom of Information Act request showed that in most congressional districts nationwide, 60 to 65 percent of eligible borrowers applied or were automatically deemed eligible for student loan forgiveness. 

When do I need to start making payments again? And could the pause be extended?

Some borrowers who graduated during the COVID pandemic have never been required to make a regular payment on their student loans. That’ll change soon, but the exact date will depend on when the Supreme Court makes its ruling. 

The Biden administration previously explained that payments would resume 60 days after the Supreme Court makes its decision or 60 days after June 30, whichever happens first. 

The president has also faced calls to extend the payment pause – first enacted by then-President Donald Trump in early 2020 – should the Supreme Court side against him. Biden called the last extension the final such move, and it’s unclear if he would again extend the pause. 

While experts previously told The Hill that yet another payment pause extension is likely “on the table,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona confirmed his department is preparing for loan payments to resume this year.

What’s next?

It’s too soon to tell if the Biden administration has an alternative if the Supreme Court sides against them. The Biden administration is expected to tout other measures it has enacted to tackle student loan debts, like reforming income-driven repayments and changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness programexperts recently told The Hill.

Alex Gangitano and Lexi Lonas contributed to this report.

Tags Joe Biden Miguel Cardona

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File - A Chevrolet Bolt is displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, Jan. 27, 2023, in Philadelphia. Electric vehicles are far less reliable than gasoline-powered cars, trucks and SUVs, mainly because most automakers are still learning how to build a completely new power system, according to this year's auto reliability survey by Consumer Reports.(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)
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