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Attn Shoppers! The Federales are giving away free sh-t. 8 million people since yesterday?

That's right, folks. In less than 24 hours, 8 million of your brethren have applied so you can subsidize their education. Apparently, they aren't happy with the service, so it's your responsibility to step up.


That's after you've paid them NOT to work during the pandemic.


Biden Opens Applications for Student Debt Cancellation

The government hopes to help tens of millions of borrowers before federal student loan payments are due again in January.


By Stacy Cowley and Alan Rappeport, NY Times

Oct. 17, 2022

The federal government on Monday began accepting applications for President Biden’s promised student debt cancellation of up to $20,000 per borrower.


Those who meet the program’s annual income limits — up to $125,000 per individual or $250,000 per household — can apply online at https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application.


“This is a game changer for millions of Americans,” Mr. Biden said on Monday afternoon.


The Education Department, which holds $1.6 trillion in student loan debt and will manage the cancellation process, quietly opened the application website for testing on Friday night. More than eight million people had already applied by Monday, Mr. Biden said. The form is available in English and Spanish, and is intended to work on desktop computers and mobile devices.


Mr. Biden announced in August that he would use executive action to cancel billions of dollars in federal student loan debt. Lawsuits seeking to block the action were then filed, most prominently by a group of six attorneys general from Republican-led states. A federal judge in Missouri heard arguments last week on their request for an injunction to prevent the government from carrying out the plan.


“Republican members of Congress and Republican governors are trying to do everything they can to deny this relief, even to their own constituents,” Mr. Biden said on Monday. “Their outrage is wrong, and it’s hypocritical.”


What to Know About Student Loan Debt Relief

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Many will benefit. President Biden’s executive order means the federal student loan balances of millions of people could fall by as much as $20,000. Here are answers to some common questions about how it will work:


Who qualifies for loan cancellation? Individuals who are single and earn $125,000 or less will qualify for the $10,000 in debt cancellation. If you’re married and file your taxes jointly or are a head of household, you qualify if your income is $250,000 or below. If you received a Pell Grant and meet these income requirements, you could qualify for an extra $10,000 in debt cancellation.


What’s the first thing I need to do if I qualify? Check with your loan servicer to make sure that your postal address, your email address and your mobile phone number are listed accurately, so you can receive guidance. Follow those instructions. If you don’t know who your servicer is, consult the Department of Education’s “Who is my loan servicer?” web page for instructions.


How do I prove that I qualify? If you’re already enrolled in some kind of income-driven repayment plan and have submitted your most recent tax return to certify that income, you should not need to do anything else. Still, keep an eye out for guidance from your servicer. For everyone else, the Education Department is expected to set up an application process by the end of the year.


When will payments for the outstanding balance restart? President Biden extended a Trump-era pause on payments, which are now not due until at least January. You should receive a billing notice at least three weeks before your first payment is due, but you can contact your loan servicer before then for specifics on what you owe and when payment is due.


He pointed to the $2 trillion in tax cuts that Republicans passed during the Trump administration and the nearly $800 billion in forgivable small-business loans during the pandemic to argue that he is justified in canceling student debt.


Doug Peterson, Nebraska’s attorney general and one of those who have sued, said last month that Mr. Biden’s plan was “economically unwise and inherently unfair.”


The Education Department said in a court filing that it would not cancel any loans until Sunday at the earliest.


The initiative is projected to be one of the costliest programs in Mr. Biden’s agenda, with an estimated price tag of $400 billion, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. It estimated that 95 percent of the 37 million borrowers with direct loans owned by the government would meet the relief plan’s income criteria.


Since March 2020, federal student loan borrowers have been able to skip their payments. That pandemic pause is scheduled to end in January. Administration officials have said they plan to eliminate the debt of many applicants this month and next.


More on Student Loan Debt Relief

A New Legal Challenge: Six Republican-led states have filed a lawsuit to block President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, accusing him of vastly overstepping his authority.

The Plan’s Price Tag: Mr. Biden’s plan could cost about $400 billion, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said, making it one of the costliest programs in the president’s agenda.


A Hard Sell: At the White House and aboard Air Force One, advocates of debt cancellation made a sustained push to win over Mr. Biden. Here’s how he finally gave in.

Who Will Benefit?: The big winners from Mr. Biden’s plan are not rich graduates of Harvard and Yale, as many critics claim. It's the middle class — and disproportionately young and Black people.


Applicants are eligible for $10,000 in debt relief, or $20,000 if they received Pell grants for low-income families. For tens of millions of people, that level of relief would eliminate their federal student loan debt. The government plans to accept applications until Dec. 31, 2023.


The form asks applicants to self-certify that they fall within the income limits. A small fraction will be asked to submit documents to verify their eligibility, according to administration officials.


The White House is concerned that the debt forgiveness program will attract fraud and scammers seeking to process applications for fees. Mr. Biden warned that his administration would crack down on such schemes and reminded borrowers that there was no cost to apply for loan forgiveness.


New government websites can be notoriously finicky, as Mr. Biden knows well from the rollout of the Affordable Care Act health insurance website in 2013. He said on Monday that his administration was working to make sure that the student debt relief portal remained up and running.


“We’re going to make sure the system continues to work as smoothly as possible so that we can deliver student loan relief for millions of Americans as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” Mr. Biden said.


Stacy Cowley is a finance reporter with a focus on consumer issues and data security. She previously reported on a variety of business topics, including technology and economics, at CNN Money, Fortune Small Business, and other magazines and websites. @StacyCowley


Alan Rappeport is an economic policy reporter, based in Washington. He covers the Treasury Department and writes about taxes, trade and fiscal matters. He previously worked for The Financial Times and The Economist. @arappeport

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