A major step toward erasing thousands of dollars in debt on millions of student loans hit a stumbling block Monday.
How the Biden Administration Launched an Online Eligibility Application loan forgivenessthe site went down briefly due to high demand.
“As millions of people fill out the application, we’ll make sure the system continues to run as smoothly as possible so we can deliver student loan relief to millions of Americans as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said President Joe Biden.
Some 90% to 95% of student loan borrowers could qualify for relief. That’s about 39 million Americans encouraged to fill out the application.
“Borrowers who are eligible for this cancellation should apply now so they can receive a cancellation before repayment begins in January,” said Josh Rovenger, Legal Aid attorney.
Eligible borrowers include individuals who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021 and couples who earned less than $250,000 in the same tax year. Students who received a Pell Grant can receive up to $20,000 in forgiveness, others up to $10,000.
However, borrowers are skeptical they will ever see forgiveness as legal challenges continue to make their way to the courts.
SEE MORE: The application page for Biden’s student debt cancellation opens
“Some of that anxiety started to come back to maybe it’s not as stable an idea as we thought it was and just the fear that this really good idea might be overturned,” said Olivia Ferguson, a student at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee.
President Biden acknowledged the legal battle on Monday but sounded bullish.
“The court case is ongoing and I think our legal judgment is not that they won’t, but they are trying to stop it,” he said.
Opponents argue that the president’s move is an overreach of executive power and that Congress should be the one to forgive student debt.
Still, others, including Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, say it’s simply unfair.
“It’s very unfair to people who have taken other paths in life that didn’t require them to take out a lot of credit,” Governor DeSantis said. “They made those decisions not to have that debt, and now the debt is being placed on them.”
Legal experts aren’t sure the legal challenges will hold up, so critics are challenging the move from several legal angles to test which one sticks.
“The big one that I think has the most credibility is student loan services, those who are potentially directly harmed by these actions,” said Nick Hillman, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor. The Supreme Court is stopped before a single penny is overturned.”
That keeps borrowers on their toes while the application opens and the administration moves forward with debt forgiveness.
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