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Under Biden Administration plan, an estimated 3.5 million Californians will receive relief
OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today issued a statement in support of President Biden’s ongoing efforts to provide relief for student borrowers. The statement of support comes ahead of oral arguments before the United States Supreme Court in a legal challenge to the Biden Administration’s plan to discharge between $10,000 and $20,000 in federal student loan debt for certain lower-income borrowers. This historic one-time program will provide student loan debt relief to approximately 40 million Americans, including more than 3.5 million Californians. Attorney General Bonta, as part of a coalition of 21 state attorneys general, filed an amicus brief in the case, arguing that the Secretary of Education properly exercised his statutory authority to provide targeted debt cancellation for lower-income borrowers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in order to ameliorate pandemic-related economic hardship and prevent spikes in defaults once student-loan repayments that were paused during the pandemic resume.
“The historic cancellation of federal student loan debt will ease the burden for millions of Californians weighed down by the cost of their higher education dreams,” said Attorney General Bonta. “This one-time program targets borrowers most impacted by the pandemic – in keeping with federal authority to make changes to student loan payments in response to national emergencies. I urge the Court to allow the Department of Education to begin providing this sorely needed measure of relief.”
The Biden Administration's student loan debt relief program is currently on hold following court decisions halting implementation of the plan. In response to those orders, the Biden Administration has extended the pause on student loan debt repayments until 60 days after the Department of Education is permitted to implement the debt relief program, the litigation is resolved, or June 30, 2023. Californians should visit studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement for updates on the status of the student loan debt relief program.
Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting student loan borrowers. This month, Attorney General Bonta led a multistate coalition in support of the federal overhaul of student loan income-driven repayment programs and urged further action to address the student loan crisis. Last year, Attorney General Bonta celebrated the Department of Education’s decision to grant federal student loan relief to 560,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges after a decades-long battle by the California DOJ to hold the predatory, for-profit school accountable and to secure debt relief for the students. Attorney General Bonta obtained a judgment against Ashford University and its parent company Zovio for defrauding California students. The Attorney General also secured a multistate settlement against student loan servicer Navient resolving allegations of misconduct in the servicing and collection of federal student loans. In 2021, Attorney General Bonta announced the successful resolution of litigation against the Department of Education after the Biden Administration committed to fixing the broken Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs. The improvements followed a lawsuit and yearslong advocacy by California and others urging the Department of Education to take robust action to fix the program.