Attorney General Bonta Files SCOTUS Brief in Support of Biden Administration's Historic Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Plan

Wednesday, January 11, 2023
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Under Biden Administration plan, an estimated 3.5 million Californians will receive relief

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today, along with 21 other state attorneys general, filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of 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. In the brief, the attorneys general urge the Supreme Court to allow the Biden Administration to begin providing relief to lower-income student loan borrowers, arguing that the forgiveness plan is an appropriate, targeted, and necessary use of federal authority under the HEROES Act.  

“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 applaud the Supreme Court for its swift consideration of this matter, and I urge it to allow the Department of Education to begin providing this sorely needed measure of relief.”

In the brief, the states argue 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 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 for updates on the status of the student loan debt relief program.

Attorney General Bonta is committed to protecting student loan borrowers. Last year, 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. 

Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Massachusetts, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, in filing the brief.

A copy of the brief is available here.

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