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Rulings argue that Biden's student loan repayment plan is too generous

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Two new legal rulings are blocking parts of President Biden's signature student loan repayment plan, arguing that it's too generous. For the Biden administration and federal student loan borrowers, it's a woozy case of deja vu. NPR's Cory Turner explains.

CORY TURNER, BYLINE: There are two cases at play here and two rulings by federal judges in Kansas and Missouri, both appointed by former President Obama. The plaintiffs are Republican-led states that argue the terms of Biden's SAVE repayment plan are so generous, they exceed his legal authority. Now, the SAVE plan is not entirely new. It's essentially a rewrite of an old repayment plan, but with more flexible terms, lower monthly payments for millions of borrowers and faster pathways to loan forgiveness.

Taken together, the rulings don't kill the SAVE plan, but they do block some of its signature benefits. Next week, for example, monthly payments for undergraduate borrowers were supposed to be cut in half. Now that's not going to happen. The courts also appear to have blocked any new loan forgiveness under SAVE, at least for the time being. The move does not affect the 400,000 borrowers who have already received loan forgiveness.

The Justice Department says it will appeal these rulings. But that's where the woozy deja vu here really kicks in. And that's because it was almost exactly one year ago that the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Biden's broad-based loan forgiveness plan. And these new cases are full of legal echoes from the plaintiffs to the arguments and now to these injunctions. It's starting to feel like the SAVE plan may be destined for its own reckoning before the Supreme Court. Cory Turner, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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Cory Turner reports and edits for the NPR Ed team. He's helped lead several of the team's signature reporting projects, including "The Truth About America's Graduation Rate" (2015), the groundbreaking "School Money" series (2016), "Raising Kings: A Year Of Love And Struggle At Ron Brown College Prep" (2017), and the NPR Life Kit parenting podcast with Sesame Workshop (2019). His year-long investigation with NPR's Chris Arnold, "The Trouble With TEACH Grants" (2018), led the U.S. Department of Education to change the rules of a troubled federal grant program that had unfairly hurt thousands of teachers.