The Biden administration is no longer accepting student loan forgiveness applications after a second federal court halted the program.
“Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program,” the Department of Education said on its federal student aid website.
“As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders.”
President Joe Biden fulfilled a campaign promise in August by announcing plans to cancel up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt for people with incomes below $125,000 or families with incomes below $250,000.
The White House estimates that over 40 million individuals may qualify.
Approximately 26 million people have submitted applications, of which 16 million have been accepted. However, due to judicial decisions, none of the aid has been distributed.
The Department of Education would “quickly process their relief once we prevail in court,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said.
Thursday, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman in Texas found that Vice President Biden exceeded his power by establishing a debt relief scheme without legislative consent.
“In this country, we are not ruled by an all-powerful executive with a pen and a phone. Instead, we are ruled by a Constitution that provides for three distinct and independent branches of government,” Pittman wrote.
The Biden administration has filed an appeal of the decision.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted the program while considering whether to impose a permanent prohibition prior to Pittman’s decision.
This case was brought by six states run by Republicans.
Forgiveness of student loans is likely to reach the Supreme Court.
During the epidemic, individuals with student loan debt have not been forced to make payments. In January, however, payments will resume and interest will resume to accumulate.
Biden stated that the payment suspension will not be extended again, although this was before the court decisions.
It was unclear if the delay may be extended until legal challenges to the scheme are resolved.
Regarding loan forgiveness, the Department of Education stated on its website that it would retain the applications of individuals who had previously submitted an application.