The highest court in the land said nope to President Joe Biden’s plan to forgive $430 billion of student loan debt.
In a 6-to-3 decision on June 30, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s student loan debt relief program, which would have forgiven up to $20,000 in student loans per borrower.
What Did the Supreme Court Decide About Student Loan Forgiveness?
After nearly a year of legal battles, the Supreme Court ruled that the Department of Education didn’t have the authority to “alter large sections of the American economy” without authorization from Congress. The Biden administration argued the forgiveness plan was legal under the 2003 HEROES Act.1
“The Secretary [of Education] asserts that the HEROES Act grants him the authority to cancel $430 billion of student loan principal. It does not,” Chief Justice John Roberts wrote. “We hold today that the Act allows the Secretary to ‘waive or modify’ existing statutory or regulatory provisions applicable to financial assistance programs under the Education Act, not to rewrite that statute from the ground up.”2
In other words: Student loan forgiveness isn’t happening, folks.
We’ll break down exactly what that means for you and your student loans—and what you need to do to prepare for payments starting back up soon (because that is happening, by the way).
When Will Student Loan Payments Resume?
Federal student loan payments will restart in October 2023. Yes, this October. Student loan interest, on the other hand, will restart sooner—on September 1, 2023.
“Student loan interest will resume starting on September 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October,” a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education told Politico in June. “We will notify borrowers well before payments restart.”3
Payments have been on hold since March 2020 because of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)—which has been extended nine times over the last three years. Most recently, President Biden pushed the pause back until either 60 days after June 30, 2023, or 60 days after the Supreme Court’s decision about his student loan forgiveness plan. Since we got a decision on June 30, the student loan payment pause will end on September 1, 2023.
And while (technically) you may not have to make a payment until October, federal student loan balances will start accruing interest on September 1. So, basically, you should plan to start paying your student loans back by September. Better yet—go ahead and start paying on your loans right now!
Will the Payment Pause Be Extended Again?
You might be thinking, Couldn’t Biden just find a way to extend these payments yet again? Uh, not quite—because of an agreement related to the debt ceiling (the limit on how much debt the U.S. government can have).
To avoid hitting the debt ceiling, Biden recently worked with Congress to pass a law that suspended the debt ceiling until 2025. One condition of the law is that the student loan payment pause must end after August 30.4 This law keeps Biden from kicking the metaphorical student loan payment can down the road.
What to Do if You Got a Student Loan Refund
When Biden first announced his forgiveness plan, some people requested a refund from their student loan lender in the hopes they could get some money back before their loans were forgiven. But the moment they got their refund check(s), their student loan debt balance went back up. Some people who had already paid off their loans during the pause went back into debt to try to cash in on Biden’s deal.
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But now we know forgiveness isn’t happening. So if you’re one of the few people who got a refund, you need to pay it back—and soon. Otherwise, you’ll be paying interest on a bigger balance come September. Hopefully, you didn’t spend that check and you can just send it right back to your student loan lender. If not, use this time before payments resume to bring down your balance as much as you can!
Knock Out Your Student Loans for Good
The Supreme Court’s decision just confirms what we already knew: You can’t depend on the government to solve your problems—especially when it comes to your money.
Don’t base what happens in your house on what happens in the White House. Here’s what you need to do before payments resume:
Know who your loan servicer is.
Don’t be surprised if your loan servicer has changed since you last made a student loan payment. In fact, about 16 million people are expected to have new loan servicers.5
The Federal Student Aid office works with multiple loan servicers, and it’s more common than you may think for companies to transfer loans to another servicer. If that happens, you should get a letter or email letting you know about the switch. And you may need to create an online account with your new loan servicer.
But go ahead and log in to your student loan account. Then make sure your payment history and balance are correct so you’re not stuck paying more than you owe.
Make sure your info is correct.
This tip is mostly housekeeping, but if you haven’t paid on your federal student loans since March 2020, it’s important to make sure your loan servicer has your correct information. Did you get married? Get a new phone number? Move to a new place?
It’s a good idea to double-check that your loan servicer has all your correct info on hand before that first payment is due—because the last thing you want is to be late or default on your student loans over a technicality. Just go to studentaid.gov to view and update your info.
Get on a budget.
You need to start budgeting if you’re not already. Because you won’t know if you can make your student loan payment until you know how you’re spending every month.
So, list out your expenses and debts—and see what you can cut to make more room for that student loan payment. Having a plan for your money will give you more peace about paying off your loans.
There’s no better time than now to take control of your money. Just download the free EveryDollar budgeting app to get started!
Don’t lose hope.
Hey, we get it. If you were really counting on your student loans to be forgiven, we know you’re bummed by the Supreme Court announcement. Maybe you feel like you’ll always have student loan debt.
But listen: You don’t have to wait around for politicians to decide what happens to you. We believe you’re the hero in your story—not the government. And you can pay off your student loans.
If it feels impossible right now, just take it one step at a time. Figure out how much you owe and get on a budget. It won’t be easy, but you can take control of your student loans. You just have to get serious about getting out of debt.
Get Rid of Your Student Loans for Good!
This free guide will show you how to prepare for the end of student loan relief and ditch your debt once and for all.Get the Guide