Joe Biden, President Joe Biden Monday morning, the President announced the official announcement of the official launch of the national application to Americans looking to forgive student loans. This is the latest stage of his program that is set to provide relief from debt to up to 43 million borrowers.
“Today, I’m announcing that millions of workers and middle-class people can apply and receive this relief. It’s easy, and you can apply right now. It’s simple,” Biden said in remarks made inside the White House alongside Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. “This is an opportunity that will benefit thousands of Americans … and it required a tremendous amount of work to create this website quickly.”
People who want to request student debt relief can now complete the application to apply in English or Spanish on Studentaid.gov. The form provides information on the debt relief program, those who qualify, and how it operates. In addition, the form asks for details such as their complete name, Social Security number, date of birth, phone number, and email address. The deadline for applicants is December 31, 2023, to complete an application.
Biden, in August, made public his decision to forgive up to $10,000 of student loan debts for those who earn less than $125,000 per year or up to $20,000 for borrowers who are also Pell Grant beneficiaries.
The borrower must be a holder of federally-held student loans to be eligible. Alongside federal Direct Loans, used to finance an undergraduate degree, Federal PLUS loans that parents and graduate students borrow could also be qualified if the borrower can meet the income conditions.
The Biden administration has stated that those “more likely to be over the income threshold” must provide additional documentation, such as a tax transcript. While borrowers won’t have to pay federal tax on their debt forgiveness for student loans, borrowers may be required to pay taxes on state income for debt forgiveness.
The Department of Education has also stated that it already had income information for close to 8 million borrowers, probably due to the financial aid form or prior income-driven repayment plan application. Therefore, the borrowers will be automatically granted debt relief when they meet the requirements for income or if they decide to opt out of it. In addition, the department has announced that it will notify borrowers assessed for debt relief but do not have to apply.
The official announcement of the program is the next step in an enormous technical project for federal government agencies and student loan servicers to provide large-scale relief to tens of millions of students. A prototype version of the website was released on Friday evening, and Biden stated that more than 8 million Americans utilized the site during the weekend to complete their application.
The President was praised by “a highly skilled team of engineers and data scientists from across Federal government” that “built and tested, then the new application in just a few weeks.” In the short time of testing the application, Biden stated that the site “handled nearly 8 million of the applications without issue or glitch.”
“As millions of applicants fill out the application, we’ll make sure that the system continues to run as smoothly as it can so that we can provide student loan relief to millions of Americans in the shortest time and as effectively as possible,” he added.
The Department of Education is facing various lawsuits challenging the student loan forgiveness policy. The US district judge is expected to decide whether to temporarily block the policy from taking effect following the hearing of a request for an interim injunction this week. The move could place the cancellation of student loans on hold until the judge gives an official ruling.
At the end of his speech about lawsuits against the plan, Biden declared that he believes the administration’s goal will stand up in the courts. He also attacked Republican supporters of his plan to ease student debt in a statement that called their outrage “wrong” and “hypocritical.”
“I will never regret helping people who are working Americans and the middle class in their recovery from the disease. Not the same Republicans who supported an estimated $2 trillion tax cut in the previous administration. Which mainly benefitted the wealthiest Americans and the biggest corporations, and didn’t have to pay any of it, and added to the debt,” said the President.
Borrowers who have Federal student loans are insured by the federal government but owned by lenders other than private, the majority of which were issued under the previous Federal Family Education Loan program as well as the Federal Perkins Loan Program, are not currently available until a borrower has applied to consolidate the loan into Direct loans before September 29.
The Education Department initially said these private loans could be qualified for the one-time forgiveness program; however, it changed its mind. However, the department changed its position in September when six Republican-led states filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and argued that the decision to forgive privately held loans could economically harm states and student loan servicers.