SPP Sign-on Letter for Student Loan Debt Relief Lawsuit

June 4, 2024

Dear Attorney General Chris Carr:

We, the undersigned organizations represent eight of the states included in the Kansas v. Biden and Missouri v. Biden lawsuits. Each of our states includes millions of students, borrowers, and workers from racially and financially marginalized communities. We are deeply concerned by the decision to sue the Biden-Harris Administration and the US. Department of Education over the Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan, Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE). Student loan debt relief is especially important for Georgia, as we rank third in the nation for student loan debt per borrower, behind Washington D.C. and Maryland respectively.

The SAVE Plan, a comprehensive federal student loan debt cancellation policy announced by the Biden-Harris administration, offers many benefits to help borrowers manage student loan debt. By filing a lawsuit to block this policy, many borrowers in our states will continue to face severe financial hardships.

Our organizations oppose any legal action that prevents student loan borrowers from accessing an equitable pathway to loan forgiveness. The SAVE policy will benefit borrowers by easing financial burdens, promoting increased homeownership, improving credit scores, and lowering delinquency rates on other debt. Canceling student loan debt will also reduce stress and anxiety among borrowers, fostering entrepreneurship and gainful employment, which will subsequently enhance our state economies. This program has already been proven effective, and residents in our states stand to benefit greatly:

 

Lawsuit 1: Kansas v. Biden

State SAVE Enrollment Borrowers Identified for Cancellation Debt Identified for Cancellation in (Millions)
Kansas 60,000 18,010 $648.80
Alabama 102,900 29,430 $914.60
Alaska 11,00 2,360 $81.00
Idaho 41,900 12,290 $378.70
Iowa 68,400 22,730 $712.80
Louisiana 101,900 32,610 $1,260.70
Montana 23,100 6,920 $265.10
Nebraska 38,500 11,670 $407.00
South Carolina 131,200 36,050 $1,328.90
Texas 591,700 163,810 $5,112.40
Utah 55,000 9,910 $337.10

 

 

Lawsuit 2: Missouri v. Biden

State SAVE Enrollment Borrowers Identified for Cancellation Debt Identified for Cancellation in (Millions)
Missouri 136,700 41,300 $1,496.50
Arkansas 65,100 16,200 $561.30
Florida 475,800 140,490 $4,837.60
Georgia 286,000 82,170 $3,260.80
North Dakota 13,000 3,870 $145.00
Ohio 299,600 85,840 $2749.90
Oklahoma 77,200 25,850 $868.00

 

Critics of the SAVE plan fail to recognize that it aligns with the interests of millions of residents in our states. Our organizations maintain that the SAVE plan represents a legitimate use of Executive action, not an overreach. This is supported by the fact that Congress, in 1993, explicitly granted the Department of Education the authority to create income-based repayment plans, with the inaugural plan launching in 1994. Furthermore, we dispute the notion that states will incur financial harm through lost tax revenue due to the cancellation of student loan debt until the tax-free period ends in 2025. A federal court has conclusively stated that concerns over future lost tax revenues are purely speculative.

We urge you, as Attorney General, to consider two crucial actions to support student loan borrowers in our states:

  1. Drop the Kansas Biden and Missouri v. Biden lawsuits: These lawsuits attempt to block the Department of Education from implementing the SAVE plan, despite evidence that it will reduce borrower defaults. Before the pandemic, over 7 million borrowers nationwide were in default, with many more projected to default in the coming years. SAVE is the most effective way to keep borrowers on track with their loans.
  2. Prioritize our residents over political ideals: Blocking broad-based student loan debt relief will perpetuate financial barriers to economic growth, demonstrating a disregard for the economic well-being of our states. The SAVE Plan is a decisive step toward assisting borrowers in managing their debt and bolstering state economies. It is critical that you seek ways to help reduce the economic barriers for student borrowers and advocate for policies that promote stability and equity.

As a network of professionals committed to comprehensive higher education policies that address injustices in our respective states, we stand ready to advocate for the dismissal of the Kansas v. Biden and Missouri v. Biden lawsuits and the implementation of the SAVE Plan.

 

Sincerely,

Common Good Iowa

Every Texan

Georgia Budget and Policy Institute

Invest in Louisiana

Missouri Budget Project

Montana Budget & Policy Center

Oklahoma Policy Institute

Voices for Utah Children

 

 

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