Nebraska students in limbo as Supreme Court decides student loan forgiveness

LINCOLN, Nebraska (Nebraska) – The Supreme Court heard both sides this week on student loan forgiveness. Whether President Biden has the authority to get rid of or cut federal student loan debt depends on these nine judges.

Here in Nebraska, about 370,000 people could be affected, but a decision is still months away. 11/10 NOW spoke to one college student who is trying to make the smartest move for his budget during this confusing time.

Brandon Rotherham is studying at Southeast Community College after two years at Iowa Western. While he continues his college education, he is waiting to see if any of his student debts will be written off.

Like many Americans, Rotherham took the opportunity last fall to apply for a student loan write-off.

“Twenty-four hours after I actually applied,” Rotherham said. “I got another email from them saying ‘hey we know you’ve applied but you’re not technically approved because we’re not technically approved yet, that’s what they were getting at.’

Since then it has been a waiting game. Rotherham said it has about $15,000 of outstanding federal student loans and is unsure when, if at all, to begin repayments.

“I’m in some strange space,” Rotherham said.

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling is pending that could forgive most of his debt. Nebraska is one of six states suing the Biden administration, alleging the write-off plan is a violation of the president’s executive power.

Meanwhile, federal payments to students are currently on hold, but there is no interest for borrowers who want to repay them right now.

Rotherham is left wondering if none of his debts will be forgiven and if waiting for the pause to end will simply cost him more money in interest.

“It will take me at least 10 years to pay off this debt with all the other debts I have in my life right now,” Rotherham said.

Nebraska Attorney General Mike Hilgers said the Supreme Court case is not about whether loan forgiveness is a good idea, but about the constitution and the separation of powers.

“Congress or the administration could spend half a trillion dollars,” Hilgers said.

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