PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Friday, the Biden-Harris Administration released data that revealed how many Americans applied or were eligible for student debt relief before lawsuits threatened the program.
President Joe Biden officially announced the student debt forgiveness plan in August 2022. The program would give up to $20,000 in debt relief for those who earn less than $125,000 a year. The student loan forgiveness applications launched just a few months later in October.
In total, about 26 million Americans applied or were eligible for the relief.
Throughout Oregon, the White House reported that about 329,000 people applied for or were deemed as automatically eligible for student loan forgiveness. About 211,000 of those applications were fully approved and sent to loan servicers for discharge.
Across Washington, about 486,000 people applied or were automatically eligible for relief and about 308,000 applications were fully approved.
But White House Regional Communications Director Haris Talwar said many of those applicants may not be receiving help due to “opponents of the program and elected officials who sued to deny their own constituents from getting much-needed relief.”
These lawsuits were brought on by federal judges and appeals courts that deemed the program unlawful or unconstitutional. Efforts to provide student debt relief have been halted until after the cases are heard by the Supreme Court, which is expected to happen in February.
“The Administration is confident our program is fully legal, and we are continuing to fight to deliver relief to tens of millions of eligible borrowers,” Talwar said. “We’re hopeful that we will prevail in court, and when we do, we will quickly discharge debt of those who were approved for relief, process applications that are waiting to be processed, and make sure every eligible individual has the chance to benefit from our one-time debt relief plan.”