LULAC EXPRESSES DISMAY AND DISBELIEF OVER SUPREME COURT'S DECISION DENYING DEBT RELIEF ON STUDENT LOANS
Nation's Oldest and Largest Latino Civil Rights Organization Says Decision Provides a Financial Windfall to Collectors and Creates Barriers for Millions
July 3, 2023
For more information, contact David Cruz at (818) 689-9991
Washington, D.C. - The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) challenges the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court denying debt relief on student loans. This decision places politics and business interests ahead of pursuing higher learning and undermines the fundamental principles of equality and access to education.
The Supreme Court's conservative majority, in a 6-3 decision, invalidated President Joe Biden's plan to cancel over $400 billion in student loan debt for millions of borrowers. The justices, divided along ideological lines, deemed the program an unlawful exercise of presidential power, arguing that it lacked explicit approval from Congress. The Biden administration proposed canceling up to $10,000 in federal loan debt and an additional $10,000 if the student had a Pell Grant loan and earned less than $125,000 or less than $250,000 for couples filing taxes jointly.
LULAC believes this ruling is a disheartening setback for aspiring students and borrowers burdened by exorbitant student loan debt. Chief Justice John Roberts said that the language of the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act (HEROES Act) was not specific enough. He said clear authorization from Congress was necessary before the Administration could substantially change the economy. However, LULAC contends that the Supreme Court's decision fails to recognize the urgent need for relief and the detrimental impact of unaffordable education on the future of our nation.
Between 2004 and 2016, individual student debt increased by 60% to an average of $15,797. After starting to make payments, 36% of Latinos will end up owing more than the amount they originally owed after starting college twelve years before. Among Latino undergraduate students starting college after 2012, more than half (51%) borrowed funds to pay for their undergraduate or graduate education. Seven out of ten Latino students take out loans to attend college, compared with 66 percent of white students. In 2021, 18 percent of Latino borrowers reported being behind on their student loan debt compared to 9 percent of white borrowers.
"LULAC sees this ruling as part of a not-surprising pattern by a conservative majority, handpicked and confirmed by a Republican leadership that is willing to give tax breaks and bailouts to corporations and fat cats but denies working students breathing room from predatory loans with exorbitant interest rates," expressed Domingo Garcia, LULAC National President. "Wall Street is applauding today's decision because greed has prevailed over good insofar as encouraging modest income persons from pursuing a higher education. This rhetoric cannot continue - we must advocate for a change, right now. It is unacceptable that young Latino professionals are saddled with a high percentage rate of student loan repayment, making it even more difficult for them to make ends meet with the salary they are already receiving.”
Access to affordable higher education is paramount for America to remain competitive in the rapidly advancing world of artificial intelligence and technological innovation. Denying debt relief from unbearable student loans only perpetuates a sharply divided society, with an elite class advancing while others struggle in low-paying jobs throughout their lives. Domingo Garcia further emphasized, "If our country is to move forward and thrive, it is essential that all individuals have the opportunity to pursue a college or university education. Today's ruling only exacerbates the growing divide between the haves and have-nots."
LULAC recognizes the importance of President Biden's commitment to addressing student loan debt and understands the political significance of this issue, especially for younger voters who played a crucial role in his election. The Supreme Court's decision now places the responsibility on the Biden administration to explore alternative avenues to provide relief for student loan borrowers that can withstand legal challenges.
LULAC urges Congress to take swift action to alleviate the burden of student loan debt on millions of Americans. Furthermore, we implore the Biden administration to use all available legal routes, including the 1965 Higher Education Act, to protect student loan borrowers and ensure that higher education remains accessible to all.
As we strive for a fair and equitable society, LULAC remains committed to advocating for the rights of Latino students and all marginalized communities. We will continue to work tirelessly to dismantle the barriers that hinder educational opportunities and stand against decisions prioritizing profit over our nation's well-being and future.