Beta site launched for student loan forgiveness applications

Federal judge weighs effort to halt student loan forgiveness

Those who want to apply for federal student loan forgiveness can try to access the application through a beta mode website that was launched to test the system ahead of the formal website launch later this month.

Those who want to apply for federal student loan forgiveness can try to access the application through a beta mode website that was launched to test the system ahead of the formal website launch later this month.

The website -- -- is in a test phase, but the application seems to be available when you can catch it. Officials say the site will be paused occasionally for maintenance because of a high volume of visits to the site.

The Department of Education did the testing period to see how the site handles real-world use and uncover any possible bugs before the official launch.

Those who apply should get a confirmation email but the applications won’t be processed until the official site launches later this month.

The debt relief is expected to come within weeks of the confirmation email.

Up to $10,000 in student loan debt can be forgiven for people making less than $125,000 – or as much as $20,000 for eligible borrowers who received Pell Grants.

You must have federally held student loans to qualify.

“If you have private loans, unfortunately, you are not going to see this round of forgiveness,” said Jeff McDermott, CEO of Create Wealth Financial Planning. “But you should treat it like any other debt. Look at the interest rates… is there higher interest rate debt out there that you need to take out first?”

Taking advantage of debt relief

McDermott offered some advice for how to better take advantage of the debt relief program. He said now is the time to get ahead of all debt.

“You can start going through that sort of order of operations that we think about, looking for other high-interest rate debt you might have and start attacking that and starting a snowball or avalanche there,” McDermott said.

He said one key is having emergency funds.

“Having $3,000 or $4,000 to set aside. You can think about, you know, a car repair, medical bill, those kinds of things that usually put us in bad shape where we have to go reach for that credit card,” McDermott said.

Loan forgiveness lawsuits

While the Department of Education prepares to launch the application website, it’s facing several lawsuits challenging student loan forgiveness.

A federal judge in St. Louis is weighing the fate of the Biden administration’s plan, and it’s unclear when U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey will rule on the lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states that seeks an injunction to halt the student loan forgiveness plan.

Whatever he decides, an appeal is likely.

Democratic President Joe Biden announced in August that his administration would cancel up to $20,000 in education debt for huge numbers of borrowers. The announcement immediately became a major political issue ahead of the November midterms.

The proposal prompted a lawsuit filed in September by Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina. Other lawsuits followed, including one filed Monday by the Job Creators Network Foundation alleging that the administration violated federal procedures by failing to seek public input on the program.

In the lawsuit brought by the states, a court filing on behalf of the administration said the Department of Education has “broad authority to manage the federal student financial aid programs.” It stated that the Higher Education Relief Opportunities for Students Act of 2003, or HEROES Act, allows the secretary of education to waive or modify terms of federal student loans in times of war or national emergency.

“COVID-19 is such an emergency,” the filing stated.

The Congressional Budget Office has said the program will cost about $400 billion over the next three decades. James Campbell, an attorney for the Nebraska attorney general's office, told Autrey that the administration is acting outside its authorities in a way that will costs states millions of dollars.

“What they're trying to do is go around Congress, and this they cannot do,” Campbell said.

The cancellation applies to federal student loans used to attend undergraduate and graduate school, along with Parent Plus loans. Current college students qualify if their loans were disbursed before July 1. Administration officials said applications for debt relief will be available in October.

The plan makes 43 million borrowers eligible for some debt forgiveness, with 20 million who could get their debt erased entirely, according to the administration.

Autrey did not give an indication when he will rule on the injunction request.

About the Authors:

A Florida-born, Emmy Award winning journalist and proud NC A&T SU grad