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Loanees Lack Standing to Question Legality of Student-Loan Forgiveness

In the case of Dept. of Edn. v. Brown, 143 S.Ct. 2343, 216 L.Ed.2d 1116 (2023), the United States Supreme Court held that the loanees lacked standing to bring a suit against the Department of Education when the loanees failed to allege how the loanees were injured and, instead, only alleged how the loanees could be benefited.

In this case, the loanees argued that the Department of Education’s plan to forgive student loans was unauthorized, and, had the loanees been given the opportunity to convince the Secretary to pursue a loan forgiveness plan under the Higher Education Act, the loan forgiveness plan could have been more favorable for the loanees. In response, the Department of Education argued that the loanees were unable to state a concrete injury and were simply speculating how the loanees could benefit, not how they were injured. The United States Supreme Court agreed with the Department of Education.

In support of its decision in favor of the Department of Education, the United States Supreme Court explained that not benefiting from a governmental benefit program is not a cognizable injury, and, if it were, would open up all types of lawsuits from people who are unaffected by a particular government policy. The Supreme Court of the United States further explained that the loanees seek loan forgiveness under the Higer Education Act, which the loanees would still be able to pursue, so their injury is not tied to the Department of Education’s plan to offer loan forgiveness through the HEROES Act.

To read this case, click here.

Authors: Matthew John Markling and the McGown & Markling Team.

Note: This blog entry does not constitute – nor does it contain – legal advice. Legal jurisprudence is like the always-changing Midwestern weather. As a result, this single blog entry cannot substitute for consultation with a McGown & Markling attorney. If legal advice is needed with respect to a specific factual situation, please feel free to contact a McGown & Markling attorney.

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