The Joe Biden administration launched a beta version of the application for student loan relief on Friday to cancel student debt for tens of millions of Americans.
“We’re accepting applications to help us refine our processes ahead of the official form launch. If you submit an application, it will be processed, and you won’t need to resubmit,” the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid office said on the website.
Applications won’t be processed until the site officially launches later this month. However, those who submit an application during the testing period will not need to reapply, an Education Department spokesperson said.
During this period, the department will monitor the application site’s performance through “real-world use” ahead of the official launch. It will help in refining the processes and fix any possible bugs.
The US president announced his student debt relief plan in August, which included up to $10,000 in debt cancellation for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year. Couples who file taxes jointly and earn less than $250,000 annually can also avail the debt cancellation.
Pell Grant recipients would be eligible for an additional $10,000 in debt relief. These recipients make up the majority of borrowers.
In the application, borrowers have to “certify under penalty of perjury” stating that the information they input is correct. In case of any false information is provided, borrowers could face potential legal repercussions.
The White House said that borrowers must apply before mid-November if they wish to see their loans canceled by the time the pause on student loan payments lifts on Jan. 1, 2023. This pause has been in place since the beginning of the pandemic. The application for debt relief will close on Dec. 31, 2022.
The program, however, rules out a subset of borrowers. Anyone with a Perkins loan or a Federal Family Education Loan can no longer get aid. Both these loans are guaranteed by the federal government but handled by private banks.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the policy is expected to cost around $400 billion over 30 years.