STATEN ISLAND, NY – The student loan forgiveness plan has been blocked by a US district court in Texas, leaving many borrowers wondering what the next step is and whether they can still apply for debt forgiveness.
According to a notice on the website StudentAid.gov, courts have issued orders blocking the student debt relief program. As a result, the site is not accepting applications and the government is attempting to reverse the orders.
If you have already applied, the US Department of Education will keep your application.
You can log in to https://www.ed.gov/subscriptions and check for updates as information will be posted to studentaid.gov as more updates become available.
What is the Student Loan Forgiveness Program?
President Joe Biden and the US Department of Education announced a plan to help working-class and middle-class borrowers by forgiving some of their debt. The three-part plan would help federal student loan borrowers transition back to their regular payments when support related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic expires.
It is a program that provides eligible borrowers with full or partial repayment of loans up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Pell Grant recipients.
Why are applications no longer accepted?
According to Reuters, a federal judge in Texas ruled that the student loan forgiveness plan was unlawful and must be overturned. The decision was made by US District Judge Mark Pittman, who called the student loan enactment plan an “unconstitutional exercise of Congressional legislative power.”
This isn’t the first time the program has been blocked.
An earlier court order has temporarily barred the federal government from processing debt reliefs – although the application was still open as of early Thursday morning. Applications are no longer accepted.
What did the White House say about the program being blocked?
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre released a statement following the court order saying the Biden administration “definitely” disagreed with the ruling and the Justice Department had appealed.
“The President and this administration are determined to help working Americans and the middle class get back on their feet while our opponents — backed by extreme Republican special interests — have sued to deny millions of Americans much-needed assistance,” he said he Jean-Pierre.
What if I have already applied for relief?
There’s not much to do if you’ve already applied for relief. You must wait for the court to decide whether your application will be approved or you will be granted discharge.
It is reported that 26 million borrowers have already applied for student loan forgiveness and 16 million have already been approved for relief. The US Department of Education will retain borrowers’ information so that it can process the appeal quickly once the court order is overturned.
When the application is available again, what do I have to apply for?
Borrowers can go to studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application to complete the application, which takes about five minutes. You do not have to register or provide any documents.
You can apply for relief until December 31, 2023.
Would I be eligible if the student loan assistance program continues?
Those entitled to debt relief include:
— Individuals who earned less than $125,000 in 2021 or 2020.
— Families who earned less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020.
— Meet income criteria for 2020 or 2021.
If you filed federal taxes, your income requirements are based on your adjusted gross income (AGI), which tends to be lower than your total income. Your AGI can be found on line 11 of IRS Form 1040.
If you have eligible federal student loans and meet the income requirements, it doesn’t matter if you’re actively paying back your loans or are in school, have been granted a grace period, or are in default, according to the U.S. Department of Education.
Debt relief only applies to loan balances you had before June 30, 2022. All new loans disbursed on or after July 1, 2022 are not eligible for debt relief. Different rules apply to consolidation loans.
You can get up to $20,000 in debt relief if you received a Federal Pell Grant in college and meet the income requirements.
You can get up to $10,000 in debt relief if you didn’t receive a Federal Pell Grant in college and meet the income requirements.
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