by Jeniffer Solis, Nevada Current
January 27, 2023
The U.S. Supreme Court is the only thing standing in the way of as many as 198,000 Nevadans receiving relief from some or all of their student loan debt, according to figures released Thursday by the White House.
An estimated 128,000 applicants in Nevada were fully approved for discharge, before a federal court case forced the administration to suspend the program, preventing loan servicers from discharging any debt. Another 70,000 Nevadans applied or were deemed automatically eligible for relief based on their application.
Nationwide “millions of borrowers could be experiencing relief right now were it not for meritless lawsuits brought on by opponents of the program and elected officials who sued to deny their own constituents from getting much-needed relief,” said Haris Talwar, the regional communications director for the White House.
In November of last year – less than a month after the application was first released – the Department of Education was ordered to stop accepting applications after the program was challenged in court by several GOP controlled states that filed lawsuits against it, leaving the validity of the program up to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Oral arguments for the case are scheduled for Feb. 28, and justices are expected to release a decision in June.
“The Administration is confident our program is fully legal, and we are continuing to fight to deliver relief to tens of millions of eligible borrowers,” Talwar said. “We’re hopeful that we will prevail in court, and when we do, we will quickly discharge debt of those who were approved for relief, process applications that are waiting to be processed, and make sure every eligible individual has the chance to benefit from our one-time debt relief plan.”
An estimated 315,800 borrowers in Nevada could be eligible overall, according to estimates released by The White House. More than two-thirds of Nevadans eligible for student debt relief are Pell Grant recipients.
The administration opened the application for debt relief last October, offering to cover up to $20,000 in outstanding loans for Americans earning less than $125,000, or $250,000 for a couple.
According to a fact sheet the Biden administration released, 26 million borrowers were approved for forgiveness nationwide in the four weeks the application was live last fall. Over 16 million of those borrowers’ applications were fully approved by the Department and sent to loan servicers for discharge.
According to the White House, more than 40 million borrowers would qualify for the Biden Administration’s debt relief program. Nearly 90% of approved borrowers who have left school earn less than $75,000.
Overall, more than two-thirds of Nevadans eligible for student debt relief are Pell Grant recipients, according to estimates released by The White House.
All federal student loan payments are currently paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Trump administration first halted the payments in March 2020, and the Biden administration extended the pause through June 30 or until the forgiveness program is allowed to continue. Payments will restart 60 days later.