New data comes as elected officials and special interests actively block many of their own constituents from getting relief
Today, the Biden-Harris Administration released new data showing the number of people in each state who applied for student debt relief or were automatically eligible for relief. These borrowers could be benefitting from the Administration’s program right now were it not for lawsuits brought by elected officials and special interests. In August, President Biden announced his Administration’s plan to provide up to $20,000 in debt relief for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year. The Administration’s program aimed to protect borrowers most at risk of delinquency or default as a result of hardships brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic when the payment pause ends.
In the less than four weeks that the application was available, 26 million people either applied for debt relief or had already provided sufficient information to the Department of Education (Department) to be deemed eligible for relief. Over 16 million of those borrowers’ applications were fully approved by the Department and sent to loan servicers. However, in November of last year– less than a month after the application was first released – the Department was required to stop accepting applications as a result of lawsuits brought by opponents of the program. Loan servicers were thus prevented from discharging any debt.
Overall, more than 40 million borrowers would qualify for the Biden Administration’s debt relief program. Nearly 90% of the benefits of the relief going to out-of-school borrowers would go to those earning less than $75,000 per year. Millions of those borrowers could be experiencing the benefits of that relief today – were it not for lawsuits brought on by elected officials in some of their own states. For more information, visit StudentAid.gov/debtrelief.
Below is a full breakdown of how many people applied for debt relief and whose applications were approved by the Department before the Administration was blocked from discharging debt, rounded to the nearest thousand.
|State||Number of people who |
applied or were deemed
automatically eligible for relief
|Number of fully-approved |
applications sent to loan servicers
|District of Columbia||72,000||46,000|
|All Other Locations*||58,000||33,000|
|State Not Identified**||632,000||31,000|
* Borrowers who are in outlying territories, military zones, or currently outside of the United States
** Includes individuals for whom the Department of Education did not have an address on file or from whom more information was needed at the time that the program was blocked.