On Monday, the US Department of Education launched its application for student loan forgivenessallowing about 27 million borrowers to apply for debt relief. Individual browers earn less than $125,000 Where families earning less than $250,000 can apply for a $10,000 reduction in their mortgage bills. Pell Grant recipients can receive $20,000.
“It’s a huge step,” said Dr Dominique Baker, associate professor of educational policy and leadership at Southern Methodist University. “JThis is an important part of recognizing the ways in which the student loan system did a disservice to borrowers.”
The application process is designed to be direct. A press release from the White House Office of Political Strategy and Outreach claimed that The app can be completed in less than five minutes. It does not require a federal student aid ID or document upload. Applicants only need to fill in their full name, social security number, phone number, and email address. The application is available in English and Spanish, as well as in desktop and mobile format.
According to Bakersimple and accessible, that’s exactly what the form should be.
“This is in line with best practice of what we expect an app to do for government benefits,” she said. “It’s relatively short. These are all pieces of information that are usually at the person’s fingertips, already in their head. Jhe amount of time and energy that someone must put to fill it has been reduced as much as possible.”
Based on crashes and issues associated with the spear of other leading government websites, such as 2013 Obamacare registration website and this year’s COVID-19 testing website, borrowers could be forgiven for being skeptical of the new app.
“I expected it to be quite similar to [the Obamacare sign-up] but it was quite the oppositesaid Melissa Larson, a borrower who has debt of his time to Macalester College. “It was incredibly easy.”
“I ended up filling it from my phone», shelp Larson. “I was on Instagram or something and someone I follow posted a link to the applicationso I went. II took like two seconds. Jhere there was no to crash. My confirmation email came right away.”
Ben Wisniewski, a borrower who owes his time to The University of Hawaii Law School had a similar program easy time when he used the beta version of the app last weekend.
“I had no problem with it,” he said. “The form was fortunately short. I think I was able to complete it in 10 minutes, even after a paranoid double check. I think they did an A+ job.
The Biden administration has said that Twelve million borrowers HaI completed The app starting Monday.
However, odo group of students reported problems. On various social media platforms, people who describe themselves as Americans living abroad wrote that they couldn’t get to The app.
Eric Jackson, an American living in Panama who is in debt from his time at Detroit College of Law, described himself as “bored, not surprised.”
“I think it was a mistake we hadn’t thought of,” he said. “Or maybe they were afraid of a flood of fraudulent spam. But there are ways to handle that.”
The application website says a paper version of the application will be available soon and borrowers can apply for relief until the end of 2023. The Department of Education did not respond to a press time request for comment.
JThe app version is too politically significant, according to Dr. Robert Kelchen, head of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
“It’s ahead of the midterm elections and it’s ahead of some of the lawsuits that are coming,” Kelchen said. “The Ministry of Education has promised not to start canceling the debt until at least October 23. I think they would love to start canceling the debt before midterms if the courts allow them.”
The the release of the app also serves a political purpose in case debt forgiveness lawsuits block the program.
“It makes debt cancellation more real, more salient, if people have applied for it“, Kelchen said. “If there is a successful lawsuit against debt cancellation, the Biden administration hopes those borrowers will come out and blame Republicans.”
Despite threats to the program, Larson’s experience with the app led her to more confident that she and others can receive financial assistance.
“The fact that it’s easily accessible on a phone gave me hope that everything will be fine,” she says. “I’ve noticed that a lot of people in the communities that I follow on social media post a lot about this. I hope the ease makes this so everyone actually does this.”
“I’m hopeful,” she said. “If we to have to have an app, this one is damn good.
Jon Edelman can be contacted at [email protected].