Is the Student Loan Forgiveness Application Open? No — Here’s Why.
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- The application for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness was live from Oct. 14 to Nov. 11.
- In that timespan, 26 million borrowers applied to have some or all debt erased.
- The U.S. Supreme Court will likely determine whether those 26 million borrowers can get relief and whether the Department of Education can reopen applications this summer.
Borrowers can no longer apply for federal student loan forgiveness under President Joe Biden’s widespread forgiveness plan, at least for now.
Those hoping to have some or all of their student debt discharged had just a month to apply for relief before the Department of Education (ED) pulled its online application. The president’s plan would forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt per borrower making less than $125,000 per year, or $250,000 for couples.
Federal Student Aid’s (FSA) website launched the beta version of the application for debt relief on Oct. 14. The official version went live on Oct. 17.
However, the application was short-lived: FSA pulled the application on Nov. 11.
While the application was live, 26.3 million borrowers applied for forgiveness. That’s more than half of the 43 million estimated borrowers who are eligible for the program, according to the White House.
Why did ED pull the online application?
Biden’s forgiveness program set off a litany of litigation. And while courts tossed many of the suits, two cases made their way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court heard oral arguments for these two cases on Feb. 28.
These lawsuits - and the uncertainty surrounding the program due to litigation - convinced ED to stop accepting applications on Nov. 11.
“Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications,” reads a message on the website that previously housed the application.
There is a chance ED will make the application available again this summer. If the Supreme Court upholds the legality of Biden’s plan, experts believe his administration will pick up where it left off.