New Mexico lawmakers, students react to Supreme Court’s ruling against student loan forgiveness

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Come October, thousands of New Mexicans will be on the hook to start repaying their student loans after the Supreme Court struck down President Biden’s relief plan.

KOB 4 spoke to students who don’t have loans and students who do – all of them are disappointed with the decision, and are hoping for a new solution. 

“I just think it’s hard especially being a student having to go through all these classes, and at the end you have all of these student loans that have just accumulated. It’s just-I don’t think it feels very good,” said Grace Carmona-Yong, a UNM freshman.  

The New Mexico Department of Higher Education estimates New Mexicans have borrowed more than $7 billion. 

Nearly a year later, the conservative Supreme Court ruled President Joe Biden overstepped his authority, and struck down his loan forgiveness program.

“Why would you strike down the student loan forgiveness thing now, especially with inflation and things like that?” said Carmona-Yong. 

Students at the University of New Mexico say they were shocked by the news. 

“There was more benefit than bad going into it. More for students who still have debt after college, and are trying to make something of themselves,” said Eliam Sanchez, a UNM sophomore.  

“It was kind of scary. It came out of nowhere. For the last couple of years they have been telling us like we will have our student loans forgiven,” said Taxavion Smith, a UNM junior.  

Despite the setback, they hope Biden can come up with another solution for borrowers.

“There are a lot of people that I know that will be affected by this, and I wish they wouldn’t affect them, and hopefully it can come back up,” said Sanchez. 

The Democratic Delegation spoke against the Supreme Court ruling Friday, saying it will have a devastating impact on those borrowers. Now, they’re calling for solutions to the debt crisis. 

Sen. Ben Ray Luján says, “The federal government can and should be helping millions of Americans become more financially stable.”

Sen. Martin Heinrich echoed that sentiment in a statement, saying Congress needs to act to bring tuition under control.

A spokesperson for Heinrich says, “He has introduced legislation to make college more affordable by increasing the value of the Pell Grant, and holding states accountable in maintaining higher education funding.” 

Actions that the University of New Mexico’s director of financial aid says will become increasingly important following this decision from the Supreme Court. 

“The investment that the state has made in New Mexico students is very significant. I think it is very important to point out that we are striving both with the state, and within the institution. We are striving to provide financial resources to our students so that they don’t have to take out as much,” said Elizabeth Amador, UNM’s director of Financial Aid. 

Rep. Melanie Stansbury says she is “outraged” the “right wing court is preventing thousands of New Mexicans from starting a business, buying a home, and getting ahead.” 

“The students that do end up borrowing the amount of debt that they take out is about $21,000 for their entire undergraduate career,” said Amador. 

The congresswoman says she would support another plan proposed by Biden to address student debt. 

Fellow Rep. Gabe Vasquez also weighed in saying in part, “Most Latinos owe 83% of their initial student loan 12 years after college.”

Biden says he is wasting no time to provide another solution for borrowers. On Friday, he announced plans for a new relief program under the Higher Education Act.

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