In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Biden v. Nebraska, which strikes down President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, Mark Zuckerman, president of The Century Foundation and former deputy director of President Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, issued the following statement:

“Today, six Justices on the Supreme Court chose to turn their backs on 40 million student borrowers and ignore the expressed intent of Congress, which plainly gave the Executive Branch the legal authority to cancel student debt through the HEROES Act. Coupled with the disastrous affirmative action decision yesterday, the Court’s extremist majority has taken U.S. higher education two long steps backwards, with the nation’s Black, Hispanic, and Native American families hardest hit.

“Particularly hurt by this decision are parent borrowers—the hidden casualties of the student debt crisis—who were included in President Biden’s cancellation plan, as well as Pell grant recipients, a group that is disproportionately made up of low-income students and students of color, who were eligible for up to $20,000 in relief. This decision, coupled with the return to repayment which has been paused since the pandemic, will mean that some 40 million student borrowers who were counting on much-needed relief will instead face crushing student loan payments that will make it harder for them to get ahead in life.

“This decision makes it all the more important that we finally address the root causes of our student debt crisis that is spinning out of control, which starts with tackling the ever-rising cost of higher education. As The Century Foundation’s research shows, curbing the cost of college is a bipartisan issue among the public, offering hope that there may be a compromise solution in Congress. But students and families can’t wait. We must use every tool available, including reforms to our student financing system, increased public investment and aid, and proposals to limit the price of tuition (including free and debt-free college plans), in order to ensure that college remains an engine of upward mobility for this and future generations.”