Court Decision on Student Debt Affects 500,00 Oregonians

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By Lynne Terry

The U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning the White House student debt relief program will have a wide effect in Oregon.

About 500,000 Oregonians qualified for the program, and by late last year when the court halted applications about two-thirds with student debt had applied. The White House said in January that many of those eligible – 330,000 – could get $20,000 of their loans forgiven because they received Pell Grants. The rest qualified for $10,000 in forgiveness.

But that relief won’t happen. The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 against the program on Friday, prompting quick reaction from some members of Oregon’s congressional delegation.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, chair of the powerful Senate finance committee, said a college education should be affordable and accessible, vowing to fight for financial relief for the working class. In a statement, he blasted the Supreme Court.

“Once again, the far-right extremist Supreme Court has decided to radically alter people’s lives for the worse and this time it’s chosen to shackle millions of working-class borrowers in financial handcuffs,” Wyden said. “By throwing student loan forgiveness out the window, Americans will now be sadly forced to make hard decisions between paying off their student loans and putting food on the table. Shame on the Supreme Court.”

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, who represents Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District, which includes Portland, weighed in, too:

“The skyrocketing cost of tuition leaves higher education out of reach for too many, while saddling millions with decades of debt. It is disappointing the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s targeted executive action to alleviate this crisis.

“This ruling cannot and will not be the end of our efforts. President Biden should be aggressive in finding an alternative path towards loan forgiveness. Congress must also redouble its efforts to make college more affordable for future students.”

And U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, who represents Oregon’s 1st Congressional District, added:

“The skyrocketing cost of tuition leaves higher education out of reach for too many, while saddling millions with decades of debt. It is disappointing the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s targeted executive action to alleviate this crisis.

“This ruling cannot and will not be the end of our efforts. President Biden should be aggressive in finding an alternative path towards loan forgiveness. Congress must also redouble its efforts to make college more affordable for future students.”

This story first appeared in the Oregon Capital Chronicle.

1 COMMENT

  1. Loans must be repaid. Nothing is free. Think about what students will learn from this, not about what they can be given. Loan forgiving will help them only for a short time. The lesson they learn is for a lifetime. How can they go out in the world and be successful if they think debt is simply forgivable?
    Loan forgiveness does far more harm the good.

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