Nearly 22 million have already applied for student loan relief – The Denver Post


DOVER, Del. (AP) — President Joe Biden said Friday that nearly 22 million people have applied for federal student loan relief in the week since his administration made its online application available — more than half the number that the White House deems eligible for the program.

Later Friday, however, a federal appeals court issued an administrative stay temporarily blocking Biden’s loan cancellation plan. The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals issued the stay while it considers a petition from six Republican-led states to stop the program.

Speaking at Delaware State University, a historically black university where the majority of students receive federal Pell grants, Biden touted statistics for the first week since the app’s beta launched last Friday. He officially unveiled it at the White House on Monday.

Biden’s plan provides federal student debt forgiveness of $10,000 for those with incomes below $125,000 a year or households earning less than $250,000 a year. Those who received federal Pell grants to attend college are eligible for an additional $10,000. The plan makes 20 million eligible for full forgiveness of their federal student debt.

Biden highlighted the ease of the app, which doesn’t require users to download forms or create an account.

“Friends, this takes less than 5 minutes,” Biden said. He said the “vast majority” of applicants are able to request relief from their phones.

It’s unclear what the appeals court’s decision means for the 22 million borrowers who have already applied for the relief. The Biden administration had promised not to write off debt until October 23 as it battled legal challenges, but the earliest it was expected to start writing off debt was mid-November.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre stressed in a statement late Friday that the suspension does not preclude borrowers from seeking relief, and it “does not preclude us from reviewing these requests and prepare them for transmission to loan servicers”.

“It is also important to note that the order does not reverse the dismissal of the case by the trial court, nor does it suggest that the case has merit,” added Jean-Pierre.

Biden blasted Republicans who criticized his relief package, saying “their outrage is false and hypocritical.” He added, “I don’t want to hear it from Republican MAGA officials” who have had millions in debt and pandemic relief loans forgiven, naming GOP lawmakers like Reps. Vern Buchanan and Marjorie Taylor Greene , who received loan forgiveness, and Senator Ted Cruz, who called some student loan recipients “lazy.”

Biden asked, “Who the hell do they think they’re for?”

After the appeals court stay, NAACP President Derrick Johnson also called the critics “hypocritical.”

“When we bail out billion-dollar companies, it’s never a problem,” Johnson said. “But when it comes to helping the people who need help the most, including Pell Grant recipients — 51% of whom go to students whose families earn less than $20,000 a year — it kind of becomes a problem.”

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