On November 10, a North Texas judge blocked the student loan forgiveness plan laid out by President Biden. The program was already on hold as a federal appeals court in St. Louis considered a separate lawsuit by six states challenging it.

According to AP News, the Fort Worth-based District Court Judge Mark Pittman, former President Donald Trump’s appointee said the program usurped Congress’s power to make law. The eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals put the forgiveness plan on hold on October 21. Pittman ruled that Biden’s loan forgiveness plan is “unlawful.” He claims that Biden did not follow the federal procedure to allow for public comment. 

The Texas Tribune reported that the Job Creators Network Foundation filed the lawsuit in the North Texas court in October. The suit was on behalf of two borrowers who didn’t qualify for all of the forgiveness, due to the fact that those who earn over $125,000 are not eligible for the loan relief. Applicants are limited to $10,000 in relief unless they are recipients of Pell Grants, in which case they can get up to $20,000 in relief.

The loan forgiveness applies to federal student loans used to attend undergraduate and graduate school. Despite the blockage efforts, the White House has continued to encourage loan borrowers to continue applying for forgiveness, as the court has not yet prevented the review of applications. 

On November 11, the Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona sent a statement on the District Court Ruling on the Biden-Harris Administration Student Debt Relief Program to those who had applied for relief. 

“We believe strongly that the Biden-Harris Student Debt Relief Plan is lawful and necessary to give borrowers and working families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and to ensure they succeed when repayment restarts,” Cardona said. “We are disappointed in the decision of the Texas court to block loan relief moving forward. Amidst efforts to block our debt relief program, we are not standing down.”

Cardona explained that more than 26 million borrowers have provided the needed information to process their applications for relief and 16 million applications have been approved and sent to loan servicers.  

“Despite this decision, we will never stop fighting for the millions of hardworking students and borrowers across the country,” Cardona ended the statement.