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Student loan relief update: Applications now open in beta test

The program won’t officially launch until later this month. In the meantime, borrowers have periodic access to a beta version.

WASHINGTON — Beta testing for student loan forgiveness applications began on Friday night, allowing borrowers to begin signing up before the official launch later this month.

The beta version of the application, available on https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application, will allow borrowers to submit applications for the student loan relief program. 

'We're accepting applications to help us refine our processes ahead of the official form launch. If you submit an application, it will be processed, and you won't need to resubmit," the federal agency said on the application portal. 

Those who apply with the beta version will receive a confirmation email, but the application won't be processed until the site officially launches later this month, according to CNN. 

Credit: TEGNA

The beta version will be paused periodically, and borrowers won't be able to submit applications during that time. After an initial open period Friday night, applications were closed on Saturday morning. Those who are unable to apply can try again at a later point or when the site officially launches.

Credit: TEGNA
The government's beta launch of its student loan debt relief application will close periodically, displaying this message.

Despite the beta allowing users to apply, the federal agency said there's no advantage to applying before the formal launch, the Washington Post reported.

"This testing period will allow the Department to monitor site performance through real-world use, test the site ahead of the official application launch, refine processes, and uncover any possible bugs prior to official launch," a spokesperson for the Department of Education told CNN.

Earlier this week, the White House unveiled a preview of the application form. The form asks for the borrower's name, social security number, date of birth and contact information. 

Borrowers will also be asked to sign and agree to a form declaring that they qualify for relief based on the income requirements, with possible penalties including "fines, imprisonment or both" if the information is false.

The Biden administration filed its first legal defense of the president's student debt relief plan in court last week

In a Oct. 7 filing, which came in response to GOP-led lawsuits seeking to halt Biden's student loan forgiveness plan, the White House said the Department of Education "will not discharge any student loan debt under the debt relief plan" before Oct. 23.

Who is eligible for student loan forgiveness?

Biden's plan, first announced in August, will forgive $10,000 of student loan debt for most borrowers who earned less than $125,000 individually in 2020 or 2021, or less than $250,000 for married couples. Students who received Pell Grants to go to college are eligible for up to $20,000 of federal debt relief.

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