On Friday, the Department of Education began accepting applications for partial debt relief from federal student loan debtors through a beta test of its website.
Borrowers who submit an application during the beta testing period will not need to reapply, an Education Department representative said. Applications won’t be processed until the site formally launches later this month.
“This testing period will allow the department to monitor site performance through actual user interaction, test the site before the official application launch, improve processes, and identify any potential defects before the official launch,” the spokeswoman said.
In August, Biden unveiled his strategy to reduce student loan burden. For borrowers making less than $125,000 annually and couples filing jointly who make less than $250,000 annually, it will offer up to $10,000 in debt cancellation. The majority of borrowers, those who get Pell Grants, would be qualified for an additional $10,000 in debt reduction. According to the administration, the whole strategy is anticipated to assist more than 40 million debtors.
The Education Department has been contacted by NBC News for comment.
The website, reported by CNN, has just gone live, ahead of the official student debt relief application process, which is set to start later this month and go through December 31, 2023, according to the website. Prior to this, the Department of Education had stated that applications would be made accessible in early October.
A question about income for 2020 or 2021 is included in the application form along with asks for the borrower’s full name, Social Security number, date of birth, and contact information in order to confirm their eligibility.
According to the website, the Education Department will investigate a candidate’s eligibility and, if qualified, will inform applicants that their applications have been forwarded to loan servicers for debt relief. These loan servicers will eventually notify debtors that relief has been applied, along with any information regarding the balance of outstanding loans and updates regarding monthly payment amounts.
The “vast majority” of borrowers who submit their applications by mid-November should have their debt forgiven prior to the repayment deadline, according to a senior administration official who told reporters on a call earlier this week that they anticipate being able to process the applications for “millions of Americans” before repayments begin on January 1.
According to the official, the government has been working with its current contractors and has hired more support personnel to ensure they have the capacity needed to manage the anticipated influx of applications.
The official stated, “I feel very good about where we are in our preparations. We are conscious of how enormous this project is that we’re working on, how essential it is for 40 million borrowers and their families and communities, and how much enthusiasm there will be.