The Biden administration has agreed to suspend the cancellation of any federal student loans until at least October 17.
It is the result of a lawsuit filed by six Republican attorneys general who argue that President Joe Biden’s sweeping student debt forgiveness is unconstitutional. A hearing for this lawsuit will take place next Wednesday.
In late August, Biden announced he would forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for most federal borrowers. Those who qualify will need to apply, and that application is expected to be released this month.
But Tories challenged the pardon effort from the outset, calling it unconstitutional and helping people who didn’t need it. At least four lawsuits have been filed against the relief effort by Libertarian and Republican groups and lawmakers.
Biden is not backing down. At a Congressional Black Caucus Foundation event over the weekend, the president called student debt forgiveness a “game changer.”
“I know I’m getting screwed over by Republicans, but go ahead,” he said. “We can afford to forgive $10,000 in student debt and $20,000 if you had a Pell grant.”
When the pardon was announced, the Department of Education said the app would be available “early October”. Now, the middle of the month is the first borrower that borrowers can probably expect. If the federal judge grants the Republican attorneys general the injunction they seek, it could be even longer — if relief occurs at all.
If the debt forgiveness program goes ahead, it’s still unclear what the request will entail. Currently, the Federal Student Aid (FSA) Debt Relief FAQ states that borrowers will not need to upload documents, such as tax returns, and will not have not even need to provide their FSA ID.
Borrowers are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as applications will be processed on a rolling basis. About 8 million applicants will automatically receive the pardon, unless they opt out.
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