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President Biden's Student Debt Relief Plan

The Supreme Court halted the Biden Administration’s life-changing one-time debt relief program. But the Biden Administration is not giving up. The Secretary of Education is already working on an alternative plan to provide debt relief to as many borrowers as possible.

What Happens Now? 

As an alternate pathway, the U.S. Department of Education is currently undergoing a rulemaking process to provide debt relief for as many borrowers as possible under a different law. The first step in the process was recently completed, where a negotiated rulemaking committee was formed that includes representatives of public organizations and interest groups most affected by student debt. This committee met over three sessions in the fall, aiding the Department in drafting proposed regulatory text. We now expect the Department to release its final proposed regulations by May 2024. NEA will not stop advocating for educators, students and families until they get the debt relief they deserve. As the rulemaking process proceeds, we will update our members on any new developments.

The Administration also continues to provide student debt forgiveness through other key federal programs.  Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has forgiven nearly $132 billion for more than 3.6 million Americans and counting. This figure includes $53.5 billion for 750,000 public sector workers, including thousands of educators, through Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

The Biden Administration also announced that a new income-driven repayment plan called “Saving on a Valuable Education” or SAVE—the most affordable repayment plan in history—will be available starting this summer. Under SAVE, your monthly payments will drop by at least $1,000 annually and any unpaid interest that accrues above your monthly payment will be erased!

About the SAVE Program

What's next for educator student debt relief? Teacher Mandi Jung shares her advice:

Public Service Loan Forgiveness is still here for educators and other public service workers.

The Supreme Court ruling did not affect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Through this program, public service workers can cancel the remaining balance of their federal student debt after providing 10 years of public service while making 120 monthly payments on their federal student loans.

About Public Service Loan Forgiveness

No matter what we look like or where we live, no one should face the burden of overwhelming debt in order to get an education.

After hearing from educators and other advocates across the country, in August 2022, President Biden and the U.S. Department of Education announced a bold, life-changing student debt cancellation plan that would have reached over 43 million student borrowers in America. 

President Biden’s one-time debt relief program would have canceled up to $10,000 in federal student debt for most individuals, including current students, and canceled up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. But legal attacks by conservative state leaders and right-wing interest groups brought the program to a halt. This high-stakes legal challenge was brought all the way up to the Supreme Court.  

On Tuesday, February 28, 2023, when the case was argued, we joined advocates from across the country at the Supreme Court to make it clear that student debt cancellation is just, necessary, and legal. 

What Did the Supreme Court Say?

On June 30, 2023, the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s one-time student debt relief program in the case of Biden v. Nebraska. The Court’s conservative majority sided with six Republican-led states and decided that the Secretary of Education could not carry out the debt relief program under the HEROES Act.

The Court’s liberal minority disagreed strongly and criticized the majority for deciding “a contested public policy issue properly belonging to the politically accountable branches and the people they represent,” going so far as to characterize the decision as damaging, dangerous, and disturbing.

What does this decision mean for educators? Teacher Zander Epps breaks it down:


Cancel student debt sign outside U.S. White House

Other Student Debt Support

From Public Service Loan Forgiveness to Income-Driven Repayment Plans, we have information about the resources available to educators to get the student debt relief they deserve.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.