The Department of Education began accepting applications for student loan forgiveness on Friday via a “beta start” version of the form.
WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Education has begun accepting requests for student debt relief from President Joe Biden — a plan that would entitle 43 million Americans to at least some debt relief.
The Department of Education received over 8 million applications over the weekend during the portal’s beta launch test, Biden said during a press conference on Monday afternoon.
Borrowers were notified late Friday that an early, “Beta Launch” version A new online form has been made available while the department attempts to troubleshoot and troubleshoot. Applications submitted during the pilot phase will be processed after the form is officially released, the agency said.
“This testing phase will allow the department to monitor the performance of the site through real-world usage, test the site before the official launch of the application, refine processes and uncover possible bugs before the official launch,” the department said in a statement.
The test form will be available “on and off” during the initial rollout, the department said on its website. The official form is due to be released later this month and administration officials have braced themselves for heavy web traffic.
Biden’s plan looks like this $10,000 federal student debt relief for those earning less than $125,000 per year or households earning less than $250,000 per year. Those who received state Pell Grants for attending college are eligible for an additional $10,000.
The plan makes 20 million eligible to fully pay off their federal student debt.
The department didn’t immediately disclose Monday how many applications it submitted during the beta launch. Thousands took to social media to share the form, and many said they submitted their applications with no problems.
The Biden administration has touted it as a “simple, straightforward” application. It asks for the borrower’s name, social security number, contact information, and date of birth. It does not require any income information but instead asks users to tick a box confirming that they are eligible within the program’s income limits.
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That information is compared to Department of Education records to identify applicants who are likely to exceed income limits, the administration says. These people will be asked for more information to prove their income.
An estimated 1 to 5 million people will need to provide these additional documents, the Department of Education said in a recent submission to the White House Office of Administration and Budget.
The form’s creation and processing is estimated at nearly $100 million, a figure that angers supporters who see the application as an unnecessary obstacle. The form is intended to help exclude the roughly 5% of borrowers who exceed the income limits, but proponents say it could also deter some lower-income Americans who need the relief.
Once the Department of Education begins processing applications, borrowers should expect their debt to be forgiven in four to six weeks, officials say. Most applications submitted in mid-November will be processed by Jan. 1 — the date federal student loan payments are scheduled to resume after a hiatus during the pandemic.
Borrowers can submit applications until the end of 2023.
The Biden administration is pushing ahead with debt relief despite grappling with a growing number of legal challenges. Six Republican-run states are sue to block the planand said it exceeds Biden’s authority and will result in financial losses for student loan administrators who are hired to administer federal student loans and generate income from the interest.
A federal judge in St. Louis weighs now the states’ request for an injunction to stop the plan. In court documents, the Education Department has vowed not to complete debt relief until October 23.
Biden promised to pursue widely student debt Forgiveness as a presidential candidate, but the issue was debated internally for more than a year amid questions about its legality. His plan sparked heated debate ahead of the midterm elections, with Republicans and some Democrats saying it was an unfair handout to college graduates.
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https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/biden-update-on-student-loan-forgiveness-beta-launch/507-668d9f14-d0d6-465d-a5f0-135411e5dc2e Student Loan Forgiveness Application Beta Test: Where Can I Apply?