Student-loan borrowers will be able to apply for debt cancellation this month and Democratic lawmakers want to ensure the process is 'as painless as possible'

Student-loan borrowers will be able to apply for debt cancellation this month and Democratic lawmakers want to ensure the process is 'as painless as possible'
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) speaks during a press conference held to celebrate U.S. President Joe Biden cancelling student debt on Capitol Hill on September 29, 2022 in Washington, DC.Jemal Countess/Getty Images for We, The 45 Million)
  • The application for Biden's student-loan forgiveness should be available in October.
  • Democrats said a smooth implementation process for the relief is crucial.

The application for student-loan forgiveness could drop any day now — and some Democrats want to make sure the process is as seamless as possible.

Last week, a group of Democratic lawmakers, including Rep. Ilhan Omar, Rep. Ayanna Pressley, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, called for swift implementation of President Joe Biden's student-debt relief plan during a press conference. At the end of August, Biden announced up to $20,000 in relief for federal borrowers making under $125,000 a year. The majority of those borrowers will have to apply for the relief through a form expected to become live in early October.

This is the most expansive student-loan forgiveness enacted to date, and the Democratic lawmakers stressed that smooth implementation is key.

"It is clear that the administration is working to set up as accessible and straightforward a system as possible," Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Pramila Jayapal said in a statement. "In the face of Republican attacks, we understand the White House is prioritizing processing for loans that are publicly held through the Department of Education, which will cover the majority of borrowers, and we appreciate the administration's transparency in working to ensure that the relief will actually reach the people who need it."

"As this implementation process continues, progressives will be working to ensure that the administrative burden on borrowers is as painless as possible, allows people to self-attest to income and other data, and that the full promise of the President's executive order reaches borrowers who qualify," she added.


During the press conference, Pressley also said that the "President's plan must be implemented swiftly, efficiently, equitably, and with as little bureaucratic delay as possible." Leading up to Biden's announcement, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle expressed concerns with how the plan would be implemented. Omar led a group of her Democratic colleagues in sending a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona requesting updated information on how the relief will hit borrowers' accounts, even cautioning against placing income thresholds on the relief.

Top Republican on the House education committee Virginia Foxx expressed similar concerns back in June, saying she was "gravely concerned" with the department's abilities to carry out its "grandiose" loan forgiveness plans. She has also backed recent lawsuits filed by conservatives attempting to block the debt-relief, some of which are expected to come before a federal judge this month.

Still, the department has maintained the process will be simple. While it has not yet released its application for relief, it sent out updated guidance to borrowers last week noting that the form will be "short and simple," and borrowers will not need to upload any documents verifying their income.

"Rather than helping the privileged few, cancelling student debt is going to lift up Americans of all walks of life: students of color, poor Americans, children of immigrants, working and middle-class families," Schumer said. "Democrats continue to deliver real solutions to build ladders to and support the middle class."