The US Supreme Court, the federal student loans, and affirmative action
by Mary Foran
In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court is having more than 40 million Americans start to pay off federal student loans in October after a 3-year pause due to Covid-19 and President Biden’s promises of forgiveness.
Biden announced last summer a one-time plan to erase $10,000 in federal student loans for those earning less than $125,000. Pell grant* recipients who usually demonstrate more financial need would have received an additional $10,000 in debt forgiven.
However, in a 6-3 decision made last week, the Supreme Court said that the program was an unlawful exercise of presidential power because it had not been approved by Congress.
Interest on the student loans will start accruing on September 1 and the first payment will be due in October.
In other news, the US Supreme Court has decided that the race-based admissions policies of Harvard College and the University of North Carolina violate the US Constitution, effectively bringing an end to the idea of Affirmative Action in Higher Education.
Affirmative Action was initiated by the Administration of President Lyndon Johnson in order to improve opportunities for African Americans while civil rights legislation was dismantling the legal basis for discrimination.
On March 6, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed an order which required all federal contractors to take “Affirmative Action” to ensure all job applicants and employees were treated equally, regardless of race, creed, color or national origin.
If the Court decision stands, now universities will have to base their admissions policies solely on merit.
*The Federal Pell Grant Program provides need-based grants to low-income undergraduate and certain postbaccalaureate students. . .
Department of Education (gov)
Featured image: Guidepost collage, framed. (US SUPREME COURT/Matt Wade Photography, cropped, CC BY-SA3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. STUDENT LOAN/QuinceCreative-3D Animation Production Company, Pixabay. Vignetted. Cropped.)
Biden/David Lienemann, cropped, PD.
Matthews Hall/Greger Ravik, CC BY2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
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