The Education Department has released a beta version of its Student Loan Forgiveness Application.

On Friday evening, a “beta test” of the application for student loan forgiveness application went live, kicking off the Biden administration’s massive program to cancel student debt for tens of millions of Americans.

The test application from the Department of Education is a long-awaited first step in the policy announced in late August, allowing people with federal student loans to apply for up to $20,000 in debt relief, depending on the type of financial aid they received and their income.

student loan forgiveness application
pic:google / Student Loan Forgiveness Application Start

Student Loan Forgiveness Application

According to a department spokesperson, borrowers will be able to submit applications for the student debt relief programme during the beta testing period and will not need to reapply if they do so.

This period will allow the department to monitor the application site’s performance through “real-world use” prior to the official application launch later this month, allowing it to refine processes and identify any potential bugs.

People who received Pell Grants for college, a type of aid given to students from low-income families, will receive the most debt relief — up to $20,000 — All other federal loan borrowers will be eligible for up to $10,000 in relief.

Anyone earning less than $125,000 in the 2020 or 2021 tax years, or less than $250,000 as a couple, is eligible for the relief.

Borrowers should apply by mid-November to have their loans cancelled by the time the moratorium on student loan payments ends on January 1, 2023, according to the White House. That pause has been in place since the outbreak began. The debt relief application will also close at the end of the year, with a sunset date of December 31, 2022.

However, a subset of borrowers were excluded from the programme in a last-minute change made by the Biden administration in order to avoid lawsuits. Anyone who has a Perkins loan or a Federal Family Education Loan, which are both guaranteed by the federal government but handled by private banks, is no longer eligible for aid.

The Biden administration estimated that the late-September rule change disqualified approximately 700,000 people from the policy.

key dates and details for applying for Student Loan Forgiveness Application

student loan forgiveness application
pic:Google/ student loan forgiveness application

The administration has stated that it was a small minority of people in comparison to the potential reach of this policy. However, as advocates have pointed out, the policy’s success is dependent on how many people learn about it and how simple it is to implement.

According to the White House, the policy will apply to 43 million Americans, with 20 million having their debt completely erased. According to the Congressional Budget Office, it will cost around $400 billion over 30 years.

The policy has been challenged in court numerous times, primarily by conservative organisations and states claiming that the Biden administration lacks the authority to cancel student loan debt.

So far, none of the lawsuits have halted the programme, which the Biden administration claims is legally sound under the HEROES Act — an act that gives the Secretary of Education broader-than-usual authority during emergency periods, such as COVID-19.

President Joe Biden, while acknowledging that the plan may be controversial, has defended it as the right thing to do.

“Now, I understand that not everything I’m announcing today is going to make everybody happy,” Biden said in a White House speech announcing the policy.

“I will never apologize for assisting working and middle-class Americans,” he declared.

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