St. Louis locals react to SCOTUS ruling on student loan forgiveness

Published: Jun. 30, 2023 at 6:09 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) - The Supreme Court of the United States ruled Friday against President Joe Biden’s $400 billion plan to cancel or reduce federal student loan debts for millions of Americans.

The 6-3 decision, with conservative justices in the majority, said the Biden administration overstepped its authority with the plan, and it leaves borrowers on the hook for repayments that are expected to resume in the fall.

The proposal by Biden’s administration would have canceled up to $20,000 in student loans for 43 million people.

For about half of those people, all of their student debt would have been completely taken away.

Borrower Rose McAndrew says although she was disappointed by the decision, it didn’t surprise her.

McAndrew has been making payments on her student loans since getting her master’s degree from Washington University in St. Louis in 2004.

“I think I have about nine or 10 years left on the loans,” McAndrew says.

McAndrew says it’s a loan she’ll spend 30 years paying off.

“It’s the price of doing business in America today,” McAndrew says. “You have to make an investment in your future and that’s how I saw it. It’s daunting but I try not to think about it that way.”

Kirk Meadows says for him, it’s about personal responsibility.

“If you sign papers that say that you’re gonna borrow money and you’re gonna use this money and you’re gonna get an education and then you come out the back end of it and you want somebody else to pay for you, that’s not right,” Meadows says.

Meadows says it’s a bigger issue than just student loans.

It’s one he calls an infrastructure problem.

“The cost of education has exploded out of all proportion,” Meadows says. “We need to fix that first and then we can worry about this loan situation.”

McAndrew says this SCOTUS decision doesn’t mean it’s the end of the conversation.

“I don’t think the Biden administration is done trying to help folks,” McAndrew says. “I think maybe it is just getting rid of the interest so you’re just paying on the principle. That would be helpful to a lot of folks, including myself.”

If you have student loans, the payments that were paused during the pandemic are set to restart in October.

The restart was going to happen regardless of the decision, which means you will start paying interest again.

Senator Eric Schmitt released this statement following the decision:

“Joe Biden’s student loan bailout was nothing more than a thinly veiled political ploy on a shaky foundation to score cheap points. The bailout was inherently unfair to those who responsibly paid off their debt or those who chose not to take on debt, and the truck driver or the waitress shouldn’t have to subsidize the theater degree of the tenured professor. The Court found that the Biden Administration had absolutely no authority to wipe away billions in debt. When I was Missouri’s Attorney General, I filed this critical lawsuit - I’m pleased to see the Supreme Court side with the plaintiff states and strike down Biden’s student loan debt bailout.”

Congresswoman Cori Bush released this statement:

“This harmful decision is the result of a biased Supreme Court — plain and simple. Three things were absolutely clear about this case from the start: first, President Biden’s plan is completely legal; second, Missouri should not have been able to bring this case because MOHELA would not be harmed by the President’s plan; and third, the Supreme Court’s extreme right-wing justices have repeatedly proven that they prioritize lining their own pockets with handouts from their billionaire-besties over straightforward and legal student debt relief for millions of borrowers.

“It remains evident that we cannot trust our nation’s highest court, which is why President Biden must keep the promise he made to cancel student debt for over 40 million people by pursuing one of the several alternative paths at his disposal to deliver debt relief.

“As payments are set to resume October 1st, millions of borrowers face financial uncertainty about the magnitude of their debt burden. We must preempt this looming student loan default crisis. The Biden Administration has an obligation to support borrowers in a seamless transition toward repayment. Inaction is not an option. My Democratic colleagues and I will continue to champion policies that tackle the rising costs of acquiring a higher education.

“Especially in the wealthiest country in the world, no one should go into debt to receive a higher education. Access to education is a fundamental human right, and that is why we must continue to fight to make college affordable, accessible, and equitable for all people at all income levels. That’s why I am pushing for the cancellation of all federal student loan debt and to achieve universal access to higher education, including by passing the College for All Act. We will continue to press for the Supreme Court reform we desperately need. This fight is far from over.”

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey released this statement:

“As someone who paid for my education in blood, sweat, and tears in service to my nation, I am extremely pleased with the Court’s ruling today. The Court recognized that Joe Biden’s plan to force farmers, schoolteachers, and truckers to pay the student loan debts of Ivy League graduates was a gross abuse of power and a slap in the face to every working American who didn’t attend college or who paid off their debts. I’m proud to have led in the fight to halt Biden’s unconstitutional plan in its tracks and to protect everyday Americans from being saddled with the enormous cost of the plan.”

U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin released this statement:

“Today’s ruling by the Supreme Court hurts the tens of millions of Americans who are plagued by student loan debt in pursuit of a quality education, particularly low-and middle-income borrowers and communities of color. Working families are buried in so much student debt that they can’t afford to buy a home, start a business, save for emergencies, or fully participate in the economy.

“Nearly ninety percent of the relief dollars in the President’s plan would go to borrowers earning less than $75,000 a year. The majority of these debts are held by families who have zero net worth. These borrowers did what they were told is right. They attended college, took out loans, and hoped that their hard work would pay off. Instead, too many borrowers are saddled with unaffordable debts. How will this decision impact their lives?

“We had a real opportunity to help these student borrowers reduce their debt and get their lives back on track—an outcome that would have been great for them and this nation. Unfortunately, as Justice Kagan noted in her dissent, ‘[i]n every respect, the Court today exceed[ed] its proper, limited role in our Nation’s governance’ by striking down this program. I’m sorely disappointed that this Supreme Court coldly severed this lifeline that the Biden Administration rightfully and lawfully had offered hard-working Americans.”