Biden administration halts student loan relief applications after Texas ruling

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The Biden administration has stopped taking applications for its student debt forgiveness program, citing a Thursday ruling from a federal judge in Texas that declared the program “unlawful.”

On Friday, the Department of Education’s student debt relief website displayed a message informing borrowers that “student loan debt relief is blocked.” It added, “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.”

The Education Department said it will hold the applications for the roughly 26 million people who have already applied for forgiveness. 

The application’s closure marks a departure from the Education Department’s previous stance following an October court ruling that put a temporary stay on the program in response to an emergency motion brought by attorneys for several Republican-led states. After that ruling, the Biden administration continued to keep the application open because the stay only halted the discharge of debts. It had encouraged borrowers to apply nonetheless. 

The Texas ruling “vacates the entire program, so they can’t have borrowers continue to apply,” noted higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz.

This is a developing story.

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