Over 500 students are at the Supreme Court to plug Biden's student-loan forgiveness because the 'economic mobility of over 40 million Americans is dependent on the survival of this program'
Over 500 students are flooding the Supreme Court on Tuesday to support student-debt relief.
Democratic lawmakers are also joining a coalition of advocacy groups to support the plan.
The Supreme Court will hear arguments and likely make a final decision on the relief in May or June.
The steps of the Supreme Court will be flooded on Tuesday with students, borrowers, and advocates as President Joe Biden's student-loan forgiveness plan enters the chamber.
The nation's highest court is hearing arguments on the two conservative-backed lawsuits that paused Biden's plan to cancel up to $20,000 in student debt for federal borrowers making under $125,000 a year.
Just one month after Biden launched the online application to apply for relief — during which 26 million borrowers submitted forms — the lawsuits paused the implementation of the plan. Now, the nation's highest court will decide whether the plan can progress, or should be struck down.
Student-loan forgiveness has long been a partisan issue. Even before Biden's announcement, Republican lawmakers and conservative groups blasted relief as costly, unfair, and illegal, but Democratic lawmakers pushed for the president to go as big as possible with relief — alongside borrower advocates.
And those advocates are making their voices heard. On Tuesday, a coalition of advocacy groups including the Student Borrower Protection Center, Student Debt Crisis Center, We, The 45 Million, Rise, and the NAACP are participating in the People's Rally for Student Debt Cancellation to urge the Supreme Court to uphold student-debt relief, and according to the NAACP, 500 to 1,000 students are attending.
"Education is supposed to be the key to financial freedom, not the barrier. Today, over 500 students have gathered on the steps of the Supreme Court to fight back against any attempt to restrict such freedom. Oral arguments may be underway, but one thing is clear - failure is not an option," Wisdom Cole, NAACP National Director of Youth & College, said in a statement.
"Our government must relieve borrowers of the crushing weight of student debt which will keep an entire generation from reaching their full potential," he continued. "The economic mobility of over 40 million Americans is dependent on the survival of this program, and the NAACP will continue to do everything in our power to ensure that their voices are heard, and their stories are known."
Some groups even camped out overnight to make sure they can get a seat in the court. Melissa Byrne, executive director of We The 45 Million, a campaign of borrowers working to win student-debt cancellation, previously told Insider that she "wanted to make sure that the justices look into the eyes of borrowers while they're doing the hearing," adding that "our actions will show that the people with debt are just regular people from around the country."
Along with advocates, Democratic lawmakers including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bob Menendez, and Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, and Max Frost will be joining the rally on Tuesday to voice their support for Biden's student-loan forgiveness.
On Monday, Warren released a report highlighting how members of many of the advocacy groups participating in the rally would be impacted by student-debt relief, and it said "a financial disaster for millions of Americans" could arise should the Supreme Court strike the relief down.
One borrower said in the report that "I'm putting all of my hope into this process finally getting approval. I haven't allowed myself to imagine another scenario because I may not continue even trying to exist everyday if that happens. This debt follows me daily."
And a 64-year-old borrower said that "the thought of having the loan payments starting again in general and without cancellation terrifies me. It means I might have to take a second job or use my 401K retirement money to pay for the loans. I [cannot] plan for retirement."
All eyes now turn to the conservative-majority Supreme Court, which will likely make a final ruling on Biden's debt relief in May or June.
Read the original article on Business Insider