July 10, 2023

Whitehouse Slams Supreme Court’s Decision Blocking Biden Student Loan Program

Right-wing majority decision in Biden v. Nebraska denies much needed student loan debt relief for thousands of Rhode Islanders

Providence, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) released the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision today in Biden v. Nebraska, which blocked the implementation of the Biden administration’s student debt forgiveness plan:

“To no one’s surprise, the Supreme Court’s right-wing majority has sided once again with big Republican special interests at the expense of working families in Rhode Island and across the country.  Student loan debt forgiveness would free up thousands of Rhode Islanders to buy homes, start families, and invest in their future, and I urge the Biden administration and Congress to pursue every legal route to deliver this promised – and much needed – relief.”

Rhode Island college graduates of the class of 2020 graduated with an average student loan burden of $44,576.  Last year, President Biden unveiled a plan to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loans for Americans earning less than $125,000 a year, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. Data from the U.S. Department of Education showed that 96,000 Rhode Islanders – and over 25 million Americans – applied or were deemed automatically eligible for debt relief during the four week window in which the program was operating last fall.  

Senator Whitehouse has long championed legislation to help Americans pay off their student loans.  Since hearing from early applicants caught in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program bureaucracy several years ago, Whitehouse has doggedly pursued fixes to the program and worked to help constituents navigate the application process. 

Last June, Whitehouse introduced the Simplifying and Strengthening PSLF Act to streamline and improve the program.  In addition to making the Biden administration’s waiver permanent, the Simplifying and Strengthening PSLF Act would reduce the number of payments needed to qualify for PSLF loan forgiveness from 120 payments over 10 years to 60 payments over 5 years while working for an eligible employer.  Whitehouse has also introduced the Zero-Percent Student Loan Refinancing Act, which would allow Americans to refinance their federal student loans at a zero percent interest rate.

Rhode Islanders navigating the student loan debt relief application process should contact Senator Whitehouse’s office at 401-453-5294 for assistance.

Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921