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The hope offered by President Joe Biden’s Federal Student Loan Debt Relief Program, designed to forgive as much as $20,000 of student college debt for students and their parents burdened with college loans and Parent Plus loans, got quashed, at least temporarily, on Monday. In a 3-0 decision from Missouri, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals has blocked Biden’s student debt relief program, while it considers the appeal from six GOP states that have challenged the debt forgiveness program.

Some 45 million Americans hold student loan debt. Image courtesy of

“Once again, Republican-appointed judges have arbitrarily ruled against urgently needed student loan relief for the American people,” said We The 45 Million Executive Director Melissa Byrne. “This is unacceptable. Millions of Americans and their families need this economic relief now. We urge this decision to be overturned on appeal to the Supreme Court and thank the Biden Administration for its continued support for student loan relief.”

The program has been challenged by six Republican-led states (Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina) claiming a lack of congressional authorization for the administration’s action.

Byrne, representing this national student debt relief advocacy group, has noted that just days after young voters voted overwhelmingly for Democrats in the midterm elections, many Republicans are trying to kill Biden’s popular student debt relief plan.

The Federal Student Loan Debt Relief is a program that provides eligible borrowers with full or partial discharge of loans up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients. As envisioned, the debt relief program could help an estimated 45 million middle and lower-income Americans with economic relief at a time when supply-chain and corporate profit-taking underlie rising inflation. Some 26 million Americans have already applied for the program.

On Nov. 1, Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected an attempt by the Pacific Legal Foundation on behalf of two borrowers in Indiana, to block the program as reported by CNBC. The two plaintiffs in that request had claimed they would be financially harmed if some debt was canceled because they would incur state taxes on the forgiven student loan debt. A similar request was dismissed on Oct. 20.

“This would mean the world to us,” said one Colorado resident, who said they had accumulated Parent Plus loans and their students had Pell grants when they lost their jobs during the last recession, with two kids in college. “We had to borrow to help get them through school and we’ve never caught up.”

The latest Republican objections to the program could be said to ring hollow after some of their own programs gave both tax relief and PPP loan relief to big corporations and millionaires during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Biden administration has indicated that it will hold the applications of borrowers who have already applied until further notice.