Press Release

AFT President on Supreme Court’s Student Loan Decision

For Release:


Andrew Crook
o: 202-393-8637 | c: 607-280-6603

WASHINGTON—American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten issued the following statement responding to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Biden v. Nebraska:

“Today, the court launched a full-frontal attack on young people’s futures. If there was any remaining doubt, the majority has exposed themselves as a group of politicians in robes, determined to put the interests of their wealthy supporters over the lives of working families.

“Between yesterday’s affirmative action case and today’s decision on student debt, the court has decided that if you or your family has the ability and means, you can succeed, but if you’re a struggler or striver, you’re on your own. For decades, students have been told that a college education is one of the most important vehicles to get ahead, but years of disinvestment and the actions of predatory loan servicers drastically tightened the shackles of debt, destroying students’ budgets. COVID-19 made that predicament far worse—and the Biden administration stepped up with a plan to help those who’ve had their lives derailed.

“The right wing’s bad faith legal argument, adopted wholesale by the justices, is shameful in its cynicism and ruinous in its impact. Even though the law is clear—the president has authority under the HEROES Act to help ease COVID-19’s burden and cancel debt for 40 million Americans—the court’s failure to address the obvious issues of legal standing constitutes stunning malpractice. Even MOHELA, a for-profit loan servicer, rejected any involvement in these legal games. And tellingly, the extremists who brought this case were silent when President Trump launched efforts to ease the burden of student debt during the height of the pandemic.

“If this ruling were the end of the road, it would drastically increase the risk of default for millions of borrowers, mostly women, people of color, lower-income people and retired people, when the pandemic payment pause ends. It would thwart the life decisions that boost our economy—like buying a car, buying a house or having a child—decisions that debt relief makes possible. Fortunately, canceling debt under the HEROES Act isn’t the only legal remedy available: The president has other options, and we hope he swiftly decides on a new path.

“The majority should be ashamed—if they were capable of feeling it. Instead, it is everyday Americans who, without further action, stand to pay the price for their warped reading of the law.”


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The AFT represents 1.7 million pre-K through 12th-grade teachers; paraprofessionals and other school-related personnel; higher education faculty and professional staff; federal, state and local government employees; nurses and healthcare workers; and early childhood educators.