Millions of people are learning, yes, they’ve been approved for federal student loan forgiveness under the program President Joe Biden is trying to push through. But those emails and the hang-ups in court are causing some confusion.
There have been many ups and downs over what’s happening with the president’s loan forgiveness plan, and what happens will affect tens of thousands of Michiganders hoping to take a bite out of their loan debt.
Over the weekend, the United States Department of Education sent emails telling those who applied for the student loan forgiveness plan they were approved even though the plan is on hold pending a court ruling in the U.S. Supreme Court.
The decision leaves many borrowers in limbo, like Paul Abrahamse, whose wife is still paying for student loans. And their daughter is about to go to school herself.
“We can pay for it if we have to, but it would be nicer if we don’t,” said Abrahamse. “Our daughter’s going to be going to college soon, so we’ll need money for that too.”
In Michigan, more than 1.4 million people have student loan debt totaling about $51 billion. But with things in the courts, it can be a little confusing about what to do next.
“It’s confusing, and especially since folks haven’t had to engage with it as much over the past two or three years during COVID,” said Winston Berkman-Breen of the Student Borrower Protection Center.
It’s not just cancellation, as debt payments are set to start in January after nearly three years, so now is an excellent time to take stock if you haven’t looked at those loans in a while.
“You know, some people might be the first time they’re engaging with student loans if they’re a recent graduate,” Berkman-Breen said. “And for some people, they’re a little rusty.”
It’s a tricky tightrope of student debt with relief hanging in the balance.
For anyone who didn’t apply for the forgiveness plan, the application window is closed now. But there are many other options out there, especially for government or non-profit employees, including some that will completely wipe out your debt.
As for when those loan payments could restart, the White House has said the last extension back in March would be the final one, but that was before this court fight, so we will see what happens with Biden’s plan on pause.
U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel A. Cardona sent the following email:
“This email provides you with an update on the one-time Student Loan Debt Relief plan that President Biden and I announced on August 24th.
“We reviewed your application and determined that you are eligible for loan relief under the Plan. We have sent this approval on to your loan servicer. You do not need to take any further action.
“Unfortunately, a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the program, which have blocked our ability to discharge your debt at present. 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.
“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to helping borrowers as they recover from the pandemic.
“Education is a great equalizer, and we will never stop fighting for you!”