President Joe Biden announced the launch of the federal student debt relief application at a press conference Monday.
The application, open until Dec. 31, launched about two months after Biden announced his plan to cancel up to $10,000 of federal student debt for borrowers earning less than $125,000 a year and $20,000 for Pell-Grant recipients. Biden said borrowers with remaining federal student debt after the cancellation and borrowers who do not qualify for the debt cancellation will resume student debt repayment in January after the debt moratorium ends and loan repayments go back into effect.
The Department of Education opened the application last week in a preliminary “beta test” of the application to pinpoint any issues with the application website before officially launching the application. Biden said eight million borrowers applied for debt relief during the beta test without any issues with the application website.
“This is a game changer for millions of Americans,” Biden said at the press conference.
Officials said 29 percent of undergraduate GW students received federal loans during the last academic year, about 30 percentage points below national trends.
Biden said the application requires the applicant’s name, date of birth, contact information and social security number. He said the application is available in English and Spanish and does not require applicants to upload any documents.
He said more than 90 million Americans are eligible for federal student debt relief, and 90 percent of eligible borrowers are individuals who make less than $75,000 a year.
Experts in higher education and finance said the debt cancellation program will aid many borrowers but should target financially struggling or low-income individuals like borrowers who did not finish college.
“Not a dime will go to those in the top five percent of the income bracket. Period,” Biden said.