Students ‘disheartened’ after Supreme Court strikes student loan forgiveness

By Patience Hurston, Copy Editor

Students gather outside the US Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C., in support of President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan on June 30, 2023. The Supreme Court struck down the plan in a 6-3 decision. (Olivia Cohen)

The US Supreme Court struck down President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan Friday, June 30. The debt relief program was an effort to ease financial strain on Americans by eliminating up to $20,000 per person.

While the decision was a blow to a major campaign promise for the president, for students, many of whom are either close to graduating or recently graduated, it’s back to the drawing board on future financial stability — or a future of being debt free at all.

Django Wilson, a senior music major, said even though the ruling was expected, it was nonetheless a “kick in the teeth.”

“I think there will be outcry, but I think there already was. It feels like being on the left feels like being held hostage with how you vote,” Wilson said. “It’s the choice between do you want someone who is openly a bigot or do you want someone who sucks and doesn’t represent your values but at least pretends.”

The court’s decision on student loans follows a ruling a day earlier that prohibits affirmative action in college admissions. The conservative majority court also sided with a Christian website designer who did not want to create wedding websites for same-sex couples.

Molly Brennan, a senior arts management major, said the denial of the student loan forgiveness plan was the “least impactful” of the three for them.

“The LGBT protection being stripped away and affirmative care yesterday, those two I’m more worried about. I think those two decisions coming before the student loan one kind of made me expect it,” Brennan said. “But it was definitely frustrating.”

Brennan called the whole thing “disheartening” but is still trying to see past the immediate decision and stay optimistic.

“In the back of my mind, I’m trying to be realistic. And the way the Supreme Court decisions have been going I’m not necessarily hopeful that student loans are going to be forgiven. But there is still a little part of me that thinks maybe Biden will step up and actually put the plan he said into place and we’ll have it canceled. And that’s what’s pushing me forward.”

Not all who have heard the decision find the future as promising. Kori Lindsay, who just finished her fashion studies degree at Columbia in May, said she’ll continue to “do what she has to do” headed into graduate school.

“I think that I’ve lost faith in the government. I’ve lost faith in the system. I’m not looking to them to solve any of my problems or to save me. I’ve kind of given up on that,” she said.

Lindsay, one of many students putting herself through school, said the decisions the Supreme Court have been making are “unhinged.”

“People go to school because education is important and they value that and that should be honored and not punished and I think that education should be encouraged and it’s not,” Lindsay said. “I think that is a big reason why our country is the way that it is and there is a lack of understanding because there is a lack of education. Education isn’t valued the way that it should be. There should be more support overall.”