After the Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s move to forgive thousands of dollars in student loan debt, he has begun work on a second plan.
Fourteen negotiators chosen by the Biden administration met for the first time on Tuesday to help the Department of Education develop a new proposal, a process called negotiated rulemaking.
All the negotiators are from outside the federal government, including students and officials from various universities, advocates from the NAACP, loan servicers and state officials.
This attempt relies on the powers granted to the Secretary of Education under the Higher Education Act. The HEA allows the Secretary to waive student loan debt, though the extent of this power has yet to be clarified. The negotiated rulemaking process looks to specify this.
Biden’s original plan would have forgiven up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers making under $125,000 a year, or couples making less than $250,000. It is unclear whether the new attempt will be as expansive.
“Student loan debt in this country has grown so large that it siphons off the benefits of college for many students,” Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal said in opening remarks. “Some loans made to young adults stretch into retirement with no hope of being repaid. These debt burdens are shared by families and communities.
“Creating clearer regulations will ensure the authority to waive student debt is used in a fair and lawful manner.”
In the meantime, the Biden administration has also worked to forgive student debt on a smaller scale through various existing programs, such as the SAVE plan and the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.