The heavily-redacted student loans memo that student loan borrowers have been awaiting since April was finally made public through a Freedom of Information Act request. The memo, which supposedly is about the president’s legal ability to cancel student loans unilaterally without further congressional authorization, was released along with dozens of other emails from the U.S. Department of Education. You won’t get much from the memo itself — the entire memo is redacted. However, the title — “The Secretary’s Legal Authority for Broad-Based Debt Cancellation” — remains. Here’s what this memo means for student loan cancellation:
Some have claimed that the Biden administration purposely “hid” the memo on student loan forgiveness. Members of Congress, including Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) have demanded that the student loan memo be released. However, it’s unclear if this the entire memo, the only memo, or if there is any memo that the Education Department has completed. The redactions are based on attorney-client privileged communication, and shouldn’t be viewed as an attempt to hide the contents of the memo. During the Trump administration, the Education Department wrote a memo on student loan forgiveness, concluding that the president cannot unilaterally enact student loan cancellation without further authorization from Congress.