Despite a federal appeals court ruling last Friday that placed a temporary hold on the federal student loan forgiveness program, President Joe Biden on Thursday predicted that applicants would start receiving their checks within two weeks, according to a new Bloomberg report.
“We’re going to win that case,” the president said in an interview with NewsNation. “I think in the next two weeks you’re going to see those checks going out.”
The Biden administration began taking student debt cancellation applications on October 14 and officials have said that it could take weeks to process and grant relief. Late last week, Biden confirmed that twenty-two million Americans already have sent in their applications for the program.
Meanwhile, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona acknowledged this past weekend that the Department of Education is “moving full speed ahead” with preparations for its debt relief program.
“Amid some Republicans trying every which way to block the Biden Administration’s debt relief program, the department is moving full speed ahead with preparations for the lawful implementation of our program so we can deliver relief to borrowers who need it most,” Cardona wrote in a USA Today op-ed.
Additionally, in a video posted on Twitter, Cardona joined the Biden administration in promising to fight any legal challenge. “We promise to fight to protect you from baseless lawsuits trying to stop us from providing you debt relief,” he said. “We will not stop fighting for you.”
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre encouraged eligible borrowers to keep applying for relief.
The “temporary order does not prevent borrowers from applying for student debt relief at studentaid.gov—and we encourage eligible borrowers to join the nearly 22 million Americans whose information the Department of Education already has,” she said in a statement.
“It also does not prevent us from reviewing these applications and preparing them for transmission to loan servicers,” she added.
Under the student-loan relief plan, those with federal student loans who make under $125,000 annually, or couples earning less than $250,000, qualify for up to $10,000 in forgiveness. However, if a borrower received a Pell Grant to attend college, they could potentially get up to $20,000 in relief.
Furthermore, the student loan announcement extended the moratorium on repayments till January and created a new income-driven repayment (IDR) plan, designed to assist people who have a difficult time making large monthly payments. This will allow borrowers to pay no more than 5 percent of their monthly income on undergraduate loans, a sizable decrease from the current 10 percent threshold.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.