Court of Appeals temporarily halts Biden’s student debt relief program

A federal appeals court placed a temporary administrative pause on President Joe Biden’s student debt relief program, barring the administration from repaying the loans as planned while the court reviews a challenge.

The order comes from the US 8th Circuit Court of Appeals and responds to a case brought by six Republican-led states. A district court dismissed the case earlier this week, and the states are now asking the appeals court for a preliminary injunction stopping the policy.

The 8th Circuit gave the administration until Monday to respond to that request, and states will be able to respond to that response on Tuesday.

Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, first announced in August, aims to provide relief of up to $20,000 to millions of borrowers before loan payments resume in January, after a pause of almost three years related to the pandemic.

The administration officially launched the application for the relief on Monday, following a brief “beta period” over the past weekend.

Not all student loan recipients are eligible for debt reduction. First of all, only those with federal student loans can apply for the benefit. Private student loans are excluded.

Second, high-income borrowers are generally excluded. Single borrowers making less than $125,000 a year and married couples or heads of households making less than $250,000 a year may have up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven.