1 million Ohioans applied for student loan forgiveness. It's unclear if they'll get it
Over 1 million Ohioans are hoping to have their student debt canceled under a federal program that's currently held up in court.
The White House announced Friday that nearly 1.1 million people in Ohio applied for debt forgiveness after President Joe Biden unveiled the initiative last year. Under the plan, the federal government would wipe out $20,000 for people who received a Pell grant and $10,000 for many other borrowers. The relief was available only to those who make less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 as a household.
White House officials say millions of borrowers across the country sought relief as soon as applications became available. But the program is tangled up in two lawsuits − one brought by a group and another by six conservative states − that contend Biden doesn't have the authority to unilaterally forgive student debt.
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According to the White House, 702,000 Ohioans had their applications approved and sent to loan servicers before lawsuits halted the process.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments on both cases next month and will likely make a decision by the summer. In the meantime, Biden's administration extended the pause on student loan payments until as late as June 30.
It's unclear what will happen if the Supreme Court strikes down the program.
"We are not deliberating or considering any other kind of alternative approach," Bharat Ramamurti, deputy director of the National Economic Council, told USA TODAY. "We're fully committed to the approach that the Education secretary used in this case, and we're confident in our legal authority."
USA TODAY contributed to this report.
Haley BeMiller is a reporter for the USA TODAY Network Ohio Bureau, which serves the Columbus Dispatch, Cincinnati Enquirer, Akron Beacon Journal and 18 other affiliated news organizations across Ohio.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Student debt forgiveness: 1 million in Ohio applied for relief