The Department of Education sent out letters to some federal student loan borrowers over the weekend informing them that they have been approved for student loan debt relief.
Although the DOE has approved some of these applications, it remains unknown if anyone will actually see their student loan debt relieved.
In a letter to those who were granted debt relief, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona acknowledged there are still hurdles on whether those approved for relief will actually receive it.
“Unfortunately, a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the program, which have blocked our ability to discharge your debt at present,” the letter read. “We believe strongly that the lawsuits are meritless, and the Department of Justice has appealed on our behalf. Your application is complete and approved, and we will discharge your approved debt if and when we prevail in court. We will update you when there are new developments.”
Cardona said that not everyone who will be granted debt relief got an email.
“Don’t worry if you don’t get an email today - more are coming,” he wrote on Twitter.
The Biden Administration has stopped allowing federal student loan borrowers to apply for forgiveness after a federal judge ruled that the administration overstepped its authority.
Before implementing a pause on accepting applications, 26 million Americans had applied for forgiveness. Of those, the government had approved 16 million.
Proponents of student loan forgiveness point out the rising cost of education in recent decades. The cost of tuition at a public four-year university in 2020-21 averaged $9,400, up from $8,500 from a decade earlier, when adjusted for inflation.
Government data shows that in the last three decades, the cost of attending a public university, which is generally far more affordable than a private one, has doubled. In the last 40 years, the cost has tripled.
A student attending a public university from 2017-21 would be expected to pay $38,093 in tuition and mandatory fees, in 2021 dollars. A person who attended a public university in 1977-81 would have been expected to pay $10,335 in 2021 dollars.
Opponents of Biden's plan say it’s too costly. The Congressional Budget Office said the cost for the government to forgive student loans is an estimated $400 billion.
Biden's plan calls for borrowers with incomes of up to $125,000 to receive up to $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness. That amount increases to $20,000 for borrowers who received pell grants.
The relief is only eligible to those making under $125,000 a year and who have not consolidated their loan.