(The Hill) — The Education Department began sending out emails this weekend to update applicants seeking student loan relief about the program as it drags through the courts.
Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the department began sending emails on Saturday and would continue to send them out to applicants over the coming days.
“We remain confident in our legal authority to carry out the Student Loan Debt Relief program
@POTUS & I announced in August,” Cardona tweeted. “Borrowers, remember, we will not stop fighting for you.”
Emails are being sent to applicants who have been approved by the Education Department, according to screenshots shared on Twitter and obtained by News 2’s parent company, Nexstar.
“Your application is complete and approved, and we will discharge your approved debt if and when we prevail in court,” the email to approved borrowers reads.
President Joe Biden’s relief program would forgive up to $10,000 in student loans for those making under $125,000 annually and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. The program is estimated to cost about $40 billion over 30 years.
The Biden administration is fending off several challenges to the program, including two lawsuits that have effectively halted debt forgiveness after millions of borrowers applied for relief.
Last week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to lift one of the orders blocking the program from taking effect. The ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit granted an injunction in response to a challenge from six conservative-led states.
A Trump-appointed federal judge in Texas also invalidated the relief program this month. The Biden administration is appealing that ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit.
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In the email to approved applicants, the Biden administration told borrowers they “believe strongly that the lawsuits are meritless.”
“Unfortunately, a number of lawsuits have been filed challenging the program, which have blocked our ability to discharge your debt at present,” the email reads. “The Department of Justice has appealed on our behalf.”