November 28, 2022
As legal battles have been waged over the Biden administration’s plan to forgive billions in federal student loans, the associations representing colleges and universities have stayed out of the fight.
Many of the key associations, such as the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, issued statements of support after President Biden announced the debt relief while also backing more comprehensive measures to address college affordability, including doubling the maximum Pell Grant award, which is $6,895 for the 2022–23 academic year.
“Moving forward, it’s essential that Congress and the Biden administration work together to also invest in programs to make college more affordable and, in turn, limit student debt from accruing in the first place,” former APLU president Peter McPherson said in an August statement. “This requires investments in higher education on the federal level, state commitments to return to their historic role in support of public institutions, improved transparency on student outcomes to empower students and families to make informed decisions on institutions and academic programs, as well as meaningful, effective and fair federal accountability to protect students and taxpayers.”
Other groups issued similar statements but have been largely silent since. Meanwhile, a federal judge has declared the program unconstitutional, and an appeals court blocked the administration from forgiving student loans as it planned to do. Last week, the Biden administration asked Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh to reverse the nationwide injunction or to take up the case and set an expedited briefing schedule for the court’s current term.
Kavanaugh, who handles emergency applications for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, requested that parties opposed to the administration’s application submit responses by noon last Wednesday, Nov. 23.
So far, no Washington-based higher education interest group has submitted a brief in support of the administration’s position.