August 24, 2022 | Insights from Experts

For the past year and a half, the US Department of Education Office of General Counsel (“OGC”), in consultation with the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel, conducted a review of the Secretary’s legal authority to cancel student debt. On August 23, 2022 the released a letter for The Secretary's Legal Authority for Debt Cancellation. The OCG determined that the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students (“HEROES”) Act of 2003 grants the Secretary authority that could be used to effectuate a program of targeted loan cancellation directed at addressing the financial harms of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Today, President Biden announced three-part plan to cancel $10,000 of student debt for low- to middle-income borrowers. Vega supports an outstanding expert in this area, Prof. Nick Hillman from University of Wisconsin, Madison, who studies higher education finance and policy.

Prof. Hillman commented that: This is a major development that will impact millions of student loan borrowers, especially those who have struggled the most. There are still many changes ahead, but today’s announcement will shape federal student loan policy for years to come.

Prof. Hillman’s research focuses on federal student aid, state funding models, and educational opportunity. He also studies how policies affect educational access and success. Prof. Hillman has testified to Congress regarding higher education issues and has served as an expert on key design features and purposes of federal student loan programs, repayment plans, and repayment statuses.

For more information about Prof. Hillman please email

Practice Areas