The US Supreme Court has struck down US President Joe Biden’s proposal to wipe out billions in student debt.
The 6-3 ruling effectively cancels the plan, which would have forgiven about $10,000 (£7,800) per borrower – and up to $20,000 in some cases.
The decision affects the loans of more than 40 million Americans.
It has left the US public “angry,” Mr Biden said. He pledged to put in place new measures to reduce university debt using other existing laws.
The loan forgiveness plan has been in limbo since some conservative states sued, arguing the president overstepped his authority. The Supreme Court agreed.
In the wake of the decision, Mr Biden spoke from the White House, saying: “I know there are millions of Americans in this country who feel disappointed and discouraged or even a little bit angry. I must admit I do too.”
But he vowed to work with the Department of Education to find other means to help people ease the financial burden.
“Today’s decision has closed one path. Now we’re going to start another,” he said.
The total federal student debt has more than tripled over the past 15 years, rising from about $500bn in 2007 to $1.6tn today.
Last year, the US Treasury took a $430bn charge to cover $300m in costs associated with the loan forgiveness programme, as well as additional costs associated with an extension of a Covid-era moratorium on payments through the end of the year.
The Biden administration faced plaintiffs in two separate cases, one involving six Republican-led states – Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina – and the other involving two individual student loan borrowers.
In both cases, plaintiffs argued the executive branch did not have the power to so broadly cancel student debt.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze