The White House officially launched its federal student loan forgiveness application website, projected to benefit about 40 million Americans, on Monday.
All StudentAid.gov asks for to begin processing a borrower’s application is their name, Social Security Number, date of birth and contact information — no form uploads or special logins necessary.
The launch comes less than eight weeks after President Biden announced his administration’s plan to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt, or $20,000 for Pell grant recipients, if the borrower earns less than $125,000 annually. The Department of Education tested a beta version of the site over the weekend, which handled more than 8 million applications without a glitch that it will process now that StudentAid.gov is live.
“This is a gamechanger for millions of Americans, who can get moving,” Biden said, during a press conference Monday. “And it took an incredible amount of effort to get this website done in such a short time.”
Data scientists and engineers across government helped build, test and launch the site on desktop and mobile devices in both English and Spanish. The application itself takes less than five minutes, and the Education Department will follow up with individual borrowers if there are any questions about their information.
Biden said the administration is committed to keeping the system working “as smoothly as possible” and delivering “life-changing” financial relief “as quickly and efficiently as possible,” as he follows through on a campaign promise to borrowers.
StudentAid.gov targets middle class borrowers, as 90% of the people who qualify to apply make less than $75,000 annually. “Not a dime” of relief will go to the top 5% of the income bracket, Biden said.
The government can afford loan forgiveness because it reduced the U.S. deficit by about $350 billion in Biden’s first year as president and expects another, $1 trillion reduction in fiscal 2023 — as well as a $300 billion reduction over the next decade with Medicaid now able to negotiate drug prices, Biden said.
When loan payments — paused during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic — resume in January, the billions of dollars flowing into the U.S. treasury will allow the government to also resume its student loan program. The Education Department is still “working on pathways” to support borrowers with privately held loans, said Secretary Miguel Cardona.
Conservative-led efforts to stop federal student loan forgiveness are still working their way through the courts and have yet to railroad StudentAid.gov. The White House’s legal judgment is that relief won’t be halted, Biden said.
The president warned the launch of StudentAid.gov would most certainly be followed by fraudsters, pretending to work for the government, calling people regarding their loans. His advice: “Hang up.”
Suspected fraud can be reported at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
“My message to fraudsters looking to cheat the American people is don’t do it,” Biden said. “We’re going to hold you accountable.”