Student Loan Forgiveness Application Paused After Judge Blocks Program

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Ron Sachs/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (13406017c)US President Joe Biden makes remarks on the DISCLOSE Act, which would require organizations spending money in elections, including super PACs and 501(c)(4) dark money groups, to promptly disclose donors who have given 10,000 US dollars or more during an election cycle, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 20 September 2022.
Ron Sachs/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock / Ron Sachs/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Late Thursday, Nov. 10, the Biden administration’s student loan forgiveness program faced a significant setback after a federal court judge in Texas ruled the measure illegal, blocking it from moving forward.

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With the development, the U.S. Department of Education has now suspended the application to take part in the program just as payments were supposed to start hitting bank accounts, and as loan repayments are currently set to resume in January.

As Forbes reported, the future of the program is unclear — as is any possible announcement about another student loan repayment pause in the wake of this news.

Announced in late August, the student loan relief initiative aimed to help waive some or all of the financial debt carried by millions of Americans through one-time payments of up to $10,000 (or up to $20,000 for those with federal Pell Grants).

Government Website Denies Applications at This Time

The official website where the application was previously available (studentaid.gov) now displays the following message: “Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders.”

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The message continues, “If you’ve already applied, we’ll hold your application… We will post information as soon as further updates are available.” The site also suggests subscribing for email updates and checking back on the website for further details.

On Thursday, federal judge U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman (who Politico reported was appointed by former President Trump) stated Biden’s student loan relief plan is “an unconstitutional exercise of Congress’ legislative power and must be vacated.”

Judge Pittman’s ruling was met with resounding approval from many Republican lawmakers who have echoed his sentiments and have tried for months to block the program. As Forbes reported in October, representatives in six states (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Arkansas and South Carolina) filed a suit at that time, claiming “President Biden’s unlawful political play puts the self-wrought college-loan debt on the backs of millions of hardworking Americans who are struggling to pay their utility bills and home loans.”

On Friday, Representative Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.), Republican leader on the Education and Labor Committee, also commented on Judge Pittman’s decision, stating, “Yet another nail has been added to the coffin of President Biden’s illegal student loan bailout.”

The White House Responds to Student Loan Forgiveness Ruling

The White House has also responded to the developments. “The President and this Administration are determined to help working and middle-class Americans get back on their feet, while our opponents — backed by extreme Republican special interests — sued to block millions of Americans from getting much-needed relief,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement detailed by Politico.

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Thus far, 16 million applications for the student loan relief funding have been approved by the government, per Politico, and will remain pending. In her statement, Jean-Pierre assured Americans that the Biden administration will hold on to information for 26 million people who have filed their application in order to “quickly process their relief once we prevail in court.”

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About the Author

Selena Fragassi joined GOBankingRates.com in 2022, adding to her 15 years in journalism with bylines in Spin, Paste, Nylon, Popmatters, The A.V. Club, Loudwire, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Magazine and others. She currently resides in Chicago with her rescue pets and is working on a debut historical fiction novel about WWII. She holds a degree in fiction writing from Columbia College Chicago.
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