The Department of Education’s (DOE) Federal Student Aid program emailed about 9 million student loan forgiveness applicants Tuesday to tell them the email they received approving their student loan forgiveness applications was an error, according to CNN.
The email told applicants that their original approval emails were sent in error, and the applications have not been approved or rejected at this point, according to CNN. President Joe Biden announced the student loan relief program in August, but multiple lawsuits were filed in response, as the U.S. Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a nationwide injunction and Nebraska, Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas and South Carolina filed lawsuits questioning the legality of the program.
“Due to a vendor error, you recently received an email with a subject line indicating your application for the one-time Student Loan Debt Relief Plan had been approved. The subject line was inaccurate,” reads an email obtained by CNN.
“Communicating clearly and accurately with borrowers is a top priority,” a spokesperson for the DOE told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We are in close touch with Accenture Federal Services as they take corrective action to ensure all borrowers and those affected have accurate information about debt relief.”
“[Tuesday’s email] may not seem like a big deal, but borrowers are trying to figure out how to move on with their lives,” Persis Yu, deputy executive director and managing counsel for the Student Borrower Protection Center, told NPR. “And so they’re hanging on these words and these words matter.”
The Biden administration claims it has the authority to enact the forgiveness program under the HEROES Act of 2003 as a response to an emergency situation sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The HEROES Act of 2003 grants the Secretary of Education authority to “waive or modify any statutory or regulatory provision applicable to the student financial assistance programs under title IV of the Act as the Secretary deems necessary,” according to the legislation.
The DOE received about 26 million applications for loan forgiveness and approved 16 million before before the program was halted, according to CNN. The Supreme Court is set to make a decision on the loan forgiveness program in the spring, according to NPR.
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