SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A new report from the White House showed 191,000 Utahns were automatically eligible or applied for student debt relief during the less-than-four-week period when applications were available.
Of those applications, the White House said 121,000 were fully approved and sent to loan servicers for discharge.
In August 2022, President Joe Biden announced a plan to provide up to $20,000 in student debt relief for borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year. Applications for the relief officially opened in October, prompting 26 million people nationwide to either apply or be automatically eligible.
A series of lawsuits quickly put a halt to the debt forgiveness plan, and now the question of whether it will happen or not will be decided by the Supreme Court.
In one lawsuit, a group of six Republican-led states says the debt relief would harm their states economically due to a loss of tax revenue and profits from working relationships between state and loan servicers. Another lawsuit challenges Biden’s power to create debt relief.
“The Administration is confident our program is fully legal, and we are continuing to fight to deliver relief to tens of millions of eligible people,” said White House Regional Communications Director Haris Talwar.
According to the office of Federal Student Aid, Utah owes $10.4 billion in student debt spread across over 314,000 borrowers. Nearly $4 billion would be granted relief should every Utahn who applied or is automatically eligible be granted the full $20,000.
Talwar said the Administration is hopeful it will prevail before the Supreme Court and when it does it will work quickly to discharge the debt of those who applied for relief and process the applications that are in limbo, waiting to be processed.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments for the two aforementioned lawsuits on Fb. 28 with a final ruling expected in May or June.