Data Shows 26 Million Borrowers Applied for Student Debt Forgiveness

More than half of all eligible borrowers either applied for debt forgiveness or qualified automatically.
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  • President Joe Biden promised student debt relief for up to 45 million borrowers.
  • Applications to request relief opened in mid-October but closed on Nov. 11.
  • The U.S. Supreme Court will rule on the legality of the debt forgiveness program in February.

Applications were open for just four weeks, but 26 million federal student loan borrowers applied for President Joe Biden's forgiveness program in that timeframe.

Lawsuits stalled Biden's plan to erase up to $20,000 in student loan debt per borrower making less than $125,000 per year. However, in the brief window that applications were open, U.S. debtors showed their excitement by flooding Federal Student Aid with their applications.

Newly released data from the White House shows that 26.3 million borrowers either applied for relief or qualified for automatic relief.

That's more than half of the total 45 million borrowers Biden's administration said are eligible for relief.

BestColleges compared the number of applications to initial estimates from the White House in September by state. That analysis showed that no state had a take-up rate below 50%.

Seven states had a take-up rate above 70%, while just three states had a rate below 60%.

California, Texas, Florida, and New York led the U.S. in total applications, as each state reported over 1.5 million applicants. Wyoming had the fewest, with just 30,000 borrowers who either applied for relief or qualified automatically.

A lawsuit brought against the Department of Education by attorneys general from Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina will head to the U.S. Supreme Court in February. Nearly 1.8 million of the 2.8 million eligible borrowers from these six states applied for debt forgiveness, according to the White House, leading to a 63.5% take-up rate.