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Public Counsel Issues Statement in Response to Supreme Court Ruling on Student Loan Forgiveness

LOS ANGELES, CA, JUNE 30, 2023 – In January, Public Counsel joined over 70 legal aid and borrower advocacy organizations to sign onto an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the Biden Administration’s student debt relief program. Filed by the Student Borrower Protection Center and The Legal Aid Society of Cleveland, it was part of a package of more than a dozen amicus curiae briefs filed by a historic coalition of cities, states, experts, and advocates in support of President Biden’s effort to cancel student debt for 40 million Americans. We are disheartened by today’s Supreme Court decision on student loan forgiveness, recognizing it will harm vulnerable borrowers and has the potential to cause far-reaching economic consequences at a national level.

For decades, Public Counsel’s Consumer Rights and Economic Justice project has assisted people struggling with student loan debt. We serve students who went to for-profit schools that engaged in predatory and illegal practices, individuals who are facing difficulties in repaying their student loans, and student borrowers who are victims of abusive debt collection practices.

Today, 44 million Americans collectively owe over $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Each year, one million borrowers default on their student loans, and those attending for-profit colleges are twice as likely to experience this outcome. Even when individuals navigate deferments, forbearances, extended repayments, and various programs diligently, the never-ending accumulation of interest often results in debt that is impossible to get out from under. Over the years, we have heard countless stories of students whose lives are upended by this inescapable cycle of debt, revealing widespread systemic problems with the student loan industry.

While we didn’t see the result that we wanted today, Public Counsel will continue our efforts to represent individual student loan borrowers and fight for systemic changes within the industry. We are committed to continuing our longstanding efforts to advocate for legal outcomes that support students—including fighting for educational access for lower-income students and students of color, who are often the most impacted by student loan debt and the systemic inequalities it perpetuates.


Public Counsel is a nonprofit public interest law firm dedicated to advancing civil rights and racial and economic justice, as well as to amplifying the power of our clients through comprehensive legal advocacy. Founded on and strengthened by a pro bono legal service model, our staff and volunteers seek justice through direct legal services, promote healthy and resilient communities through education and outreach, and support community-led efforts to transform unjust systems through litigation and policy advocacy in and beyond Los Angeles.

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