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Federal student loan relief killed; South Dakota lawmakers respond

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. (file)
U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington D.C. (file)

In another 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court has ruled the president does not have the authority to authorize his proposed student debt relief plan.

The ruling, which came along ideological lines, puts a halt to President Joe Biden’s $400 billion relief plan.

It’s a setback for any students who took out federal loans to complete their education.

Nathan Lukkes is the executive director of the South Dakota Board of Regents. He said it’s a subject the board hasn’t taken a formal stance on.

“We certainly want to make sure higher education remains affordable to all students, but certainly as a country or government we need to make sure we’re doing it in a responsible and sustainable fashion and making sure every student has an opportunity and a pathway to postsecondary education and that affordability is not a critical barrier stopping people from perusing their education," Lukkes said.

South Dakota lawmakers are supporting the decision.

Rep. Dusty Johnson wrote “Forgiving tens of thousands of dollars in debt for those who haven’t made payments in years is insulting to the millions of Americans who have paid back every penny they borrowed.”

Senator John Thune wrote in his response “Anyone frustrated by today’s decision should direct their complaints to the White House, where they knew this executive order would likely be struck down by the courts but did nothing whatsoever to meaningfully address exorbitant costs in higher education.”

A bill sponsored by Thune and Louisiana Republican Bill Cassidy, the Stop Reckless Student Loan Actions Act, had previously attempted to stop the Presidents suspension of federal student loan payments.

Student loans are slated to start accruing interest again Sept. 1.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture