Hundreds of student activists rallied outside the US Supreme Court as arguments were being heard over the legality of President Joe Biden’s plan to cancel R430 billion in student debt.
Six Republican-controlled states and two student borrowers sued to stop the plan, arguing it exceeded the president’s authority.
The Biden administration, however, cited a 2003 law permitting the government to modify or waive federal loans in emergencies.
More than 25 million people applied for the programme for applications with stops in 2022.
The court is hearing from six Republican-led states who say Biden overstepped his executive authority by using the COVID-19 pandemic to pause student debt and push the programme through.
The court, with a conservative majority, will rule in the summer. If it kills the plan, the Biden administration has not indicated if it is exploring other options.