President Biden says 22 million people have signed up for student loan forgiveness

Politics

President Joe Biden said Friday that 22 million people have already registered for student loan relief.

“Folks, it takes less than five minutes,” Biden said, speaking at Delaware State University, a historically Black college in Dover. “It’s about as easy to apply while hanging out with your friends at home or watching a movie. The vast majority are applying on their phones. It’s easy.”

The application officially opened Monday but was released as a beta test Oct. 14. Biden said the White House took this route to avoid the technical glitches experienced when he and President Barack Obama rolled out the Affordable Care Act site.

Biden campaigned on a promise of student loan forgiveness. In August, he announced that federal student loan borrowers earning under $125,000 or households with less than $250,000 in income would be eligible for up to $10,000 in forgiveness. Pell Grant recipients are eligible for up to $20,000 in debt relief.

“In total more than 40 million Americans stand to benefit from this relief,” Biden said. “For borrowers out of school, nearly 90% of relief is going to go to people making under $75,000 a year. Let me be clear: Not a dime, not a dime will go to the top incomes, period. It goes to people who really need it.”

Eligible borrowers owe more than $1.7 trillion total, a number far greater than auto and credit card debt. Biden said he has already received over 10,000 letters from students thanking him for the executive order.

Some Republicans questioned the legality of the executive order, but court cases challenging the order were dismissed Thursday on both the state and federal level, allowing forgiveness to move forward. Borrowers who submitted applications could be granted forgiveness as soon as Sunday.

“They’ve been fighting us in the courts,” Biden said. “But just yesterday the state court and the Supreme Court said no, we’re on Biden’s side.”

Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett on Thursday rejected a challenge to the program brought by a Wisconsin taxpayers group, and in Missouri a federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought by six Republican-led states. Lawyers for the federal government previously agreed to hold off on discharging student loan relief until Oct. 23, giving time for the legal challenges to proceed.

Speaking in Dover, Biden chided Republicans who supported $2 trillion in tax cuts under former President Donald Trump and personally received pandemic relief funds but who do not support student debt relief.

“I don’t want to hear it from MAGA Republicans, officials who had hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt, even millions of dollars in pandemic relief loans, forgiven, who now are attacking me for helping middle-class Americans,” Biden said.

He specifically called out Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. She and her husband received $180,000 worth of Paycheck Protection Program loans, and the congresswoman criticized the student loan plan.

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