Late Friday night for the primary time, some borrowers were in a position to apply for as much as $20,000 in student loan cancellation that President Biden had promised in August.
The Education Department, which directly holds $1.6 trillion in federal student loan debt owed by 45 million borrowers, said it had begun “beta testing the coed debt relief website” on Friday. The agency said it hoped the test would help it find any problems before the location publicly opened. That is predicted to occur shortly.
“Borrowers is not going to have to reapply in the event that they submit their application throughout the beta test, but no applications might be processed until the location officially launches later this month,” a department spokeswoman said.
Some immediately pounced on the suddenly energetic site.
“Application for student debt relief is now live!!” Representative Ilhan Omar, a Democrat of Minnesota, tweeted.
On Twitter, some people reported successfully submitting applications. Others were met with the news that their application was in a queue with the message: “We’re accepting applications to assist us refine our processes ahead of the official form launch. In case you submit an application, it is going to be processed, and also you won’t have to resubmit.”
Mr. Biden’s plan to eliminate as much as $20,000 per borrower in federal student loan debt — an executive motion estimated to cost $400 billion or more — has been challenged in court, intensifying the pressure on the administration to discharge debt quickly. A federal judge in Missouri heard oral arguments this week on a lawsuit from a bunch of Republican state attorneys general in search of an injunction to stop the debt cancellation from being implemented.
The Education Department said in court filings that Oct. 23 could be the soonest it anticipated canceling student debt.