The Biden administration started contacting students who have been approved for student loan debt relief, CNN reported on Saturday. The move comes on the heels of the administration’s request for the Supreme Court to lift the nationwide injunction on the loan relief program.
According to emails acquired by CNN, Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona sent emails on Saturday to those who have been approved for loan debt relief. The administration’s student loan debt relief program has been facing numerous legal challenges since its launch last month, which Cardona addressed in the emails.
“Unfortunately, a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the program, which have blocked our ability to discharge your debt at present. We believe strongly that the lawsuits are meritless, and the Department of Justice has appealed on our behalf,” Cardona said in the emails to students approved for the loan relief, CNN reported.
The highly-anticipated student loan forgiveness program offers $10,000 of federal student debt cancellations to qualified loan borrowers. But the government stopped accepting applications on Nov. 10 after a Texas federal judge struck down the plan, deeming it “unconstitutional.”
“We believe strongly that the Biden-Harris Student Debt Relief Plan is lawful and necessary to give borrowers and working families breathing room as they recover from the pandemic and to ensure they succeed when repayment restarts,” Cardona said in a recent press release.
According to the Associated Press, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a nationwide injunction of the plan earlier this week after six Republican-led states challenged the plan. The Department of Justice filed a request on behalf of the Biden administration on Friday asking the Supreme Court to lift the hold on the plan while the legal proceedings play out.
“The Eighth Circuit’s erroneous injunction leaves millions of economically vulnerable borrowers in limbo, uncertain about the size of their debt and unable to make financial decisions with an accurate understanding of their future repayment obligations,” Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said in the request sent to the court.
Prelogar urged the court to accept the appeal, warning that a continuous hold on the program could cause borrowers’ uncertainty to extend into the next two years.
Data shows that 43.4 million people face student loan debt. According to the Department of Education, 26 million people have submitted applications for Biden’s loan forgiveness program. In August, Biden announced the plan, which fulfilled a promise he made during his presidential campaign.
The plan incited praise from thousands of people following its launch in October. But in the months leading up to the launch, criticism also ensued from Republicans who labeled the plan to be an unfair handout.