Here’s the redacted note on student loan forgiveness that could determine whether Biden cancels student loans

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Here is the written note on student loan cancellation that could determine whether President Joe Biden cancels student loans.

Here’s what you need to know.

Student loans

A new Freedom of Information Act request revealed a heavily drafted note on the president’s legal authority to unilaterally cancel student loans. The seven-page memo is titled “Secretary’s Legal Authority for Large-Scale Debt Cancellation,” is addressed to US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, is written by Acting US Department Attorney General de l’Éducation and is dated April 5. 2021. Here’s what happened and this is what it means for your student loans.


Student loan cancellation: what is this memo?

In April, White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain said the president had asked the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a legal review of the president’s ability to unilaterally write off student loan debt without further ado. authorization from Congress. Klain said the review would take several weeks. However, seven months later, neither the White House nor the Department of Education released the full memo. The student loan cancellation note could include the following:

Last month, Representative Ilhan Omar (D-MN) and others called on Biden and the White House to release the student loan cancellation note, but that did not happen.


Student loan cancellation: what it means for your student loans

As first reported by the New Yorker, Debt Collective – a union based on its members – obtained the drafted documents from the US Department of Education through a Freedom of Information Act request. According to the documents, the note on student loan cancellation may have been around since February 2021 and an updated version may have been completed in early April 2021. (You can read the note and the drafted emails in full here ). Based on these documents, Debt Collective and others made several claims about the memo. on social networks and what it means for your student loans. Here’s a look at these claims and what they actually mean for your student loans:

Claim # 1: A student loan cancellation note has been around since April and possibly early February.

The documents show a redacted April memo titled “The Secretary’s Legal Authority for Large-Scale Debt Cancellation.” The documents also refer to an update to a February memo. It is important to note that the memo is written, so there is no way at this point to know the contents of this apparent memo. It is not surprising that the Department of Education explored this topic in April, February or earlier. It is also likely that the Biden campaign looked at the issue of the massive student loan cancellation, which suggests that there may be some prior analysis in recent years. (Here’s who qualifies for the student loan waiver right now). The Trump administration has also explored this topic and concluded that the president does not have the unilateral, legal executive power to write off an unlimited amount of student loan debt.


Claim # 2: The title of the apparent note “clearly suggests the White House knows Biden has the power to write off student loan debt”

The title of the note – “Secretary’s Legal Authority for Large Scale Debt Cancellation” – is just that, a title. The title of the note does not say that the Secretary of Education has the legal authority to write off everyone’s student loan debt. Rather, the title of the memo is just the topic itself, not a conclusion. (The student loan discount will not be available for these student loan borrowers).


Claim 3: The White House is in politics

Debt Collective and others say the White House has delayed issuing this memo on large-scale student loan cancellation, and it all comes down to politics. However, it is not known if there is a final memo. There is no evidence the Biden administration has been sitting on a memo for months while student loan borrowers and Congress await the Education Department’s findings. (Here’s how to get student loan forgiveness if you don’t work in the public service). As reported, the Trump administration concluded that the president does not have the legal authority to write off everyone’s student debt without further authorization from Congress. This is also the general conclusion also based on the US Constitution and the separation of powers clause. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said the same, and Biden has repeatedly said he doesn’t believe he has the power to write off student loan debt without Congress. At an event at town hall last month, Cardona said “conversations are underway” about canceling the student loan. We will continue the conversations about loan forgiveness – a large loan forgiveness. (The student loan forgiveness may still be alive). Therefore, according to the Secretary of Education, the White House and the Department of Education are still studying the forgiveness of student loans and the work is not finished. Therefore, it does not appear that the Biden administration is playing politics with the cancellation of the student loan.


Statement # 4: “We don’t need and never needed a memo to tell us something we’ve known for years. Biden must now eliminate all student debt with his executive authority. “

It’s not a slam dunk that Biden has the existing executive power to write off everyone’s student loan debt. (That said, Biden announced these major changes to the cancellation of student loans). The phrase “Biden can do it with the stroke of a pen” can be repeated on TV, in print, and on social media as often as you like. However, that doesn’t change the law or mean that Biden will suddenly write off everyone’s student loan debt. You’d better assume it won’t happen and be pleasantly surprised if it does. A memo is non-binding; it has no legal basis. The chair can follow the recommendations in the memo, or he can reject the recommendations in part or categorically. As Congress and the White House know, any attempt to cancel everyone’s student loan debt would face legal challenges that would likely delay the implementation of any large-scale student loan cancellations for months, if not. years. A court would likely make the final decision on the president’s legal authority to act unilaterally without Congress enacting the massive student loan cancellation. This is probably one of the reasons Biden focused on targeted student loan cancellation. Biden has now canceled $ 11.5 billion in student loans since becoming president.


Student loans: next steps

The Department of Education may or may not publish the note on the cancellation of the student loan. The Education Department can accept or reject the conclusions the Trump administration has reached. The president can accept or reject the recommendations of the Department of Education. The Biden administration has canceled student loans at an unprecedented rate. The student loan forgiveness amount can be significantly more or less than what you prefer, but there is currently no indication that Biden is considering canceling everyone’s student loan debt. Biden never supported this proposal, nor did Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) or Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The bottom line: don’t expect massive student loan forgiveness. The Biden administration will continue to cancel student loans – perhaps billions of dollars more – but it may not be yours.

This is why it is imperative that you have a clear game plan for paying off student loans. Make sure you know all of your options, including these smart ways to pay off student loans:


Student loans: related reading

Here’s who’s eligible for the student loan waiver right now

How to get approved for a student loan forgiveness

Student loan cancellation will not be available to these borrowers

How to get a student loan forgiveness



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