Around 9 million people who applied for President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan reportedly received emails wrongly saying their debt relief requests had been approved.
The emails, sent last month by the Department of Education, contained an incorrect subject line telling people their debt relief requests had been granted. Actually, decisions on the applications have been frozen as the administration awaits the outcome of court challenges. The remainder of the email was accurate.
The Education Department apologized for the mistake in a new email on Tuesday reviewed by CNN. It blamed a “vendor error.”
Biden’s plan, which would write off up to $10,000 per applicant making up to $125,000 and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients, remains blocked by courts, forcing the administration to stop accepting further applications.
“We have received your application but are not permitted to review your eligibility because of ongoing litigation,” the department said in this week’s email to 9 million applicants. “We will keep your application information and review your eligibility if and when we prevail in court.”
About 26 million people applied for student debt forgiveness before the plan was put on hold. About 16 million applications have been approved, according to the department. No relief actually has been granted, however, amid the court challenges.
The Supreme Court has agreed to hear two separate cases challenging Biden’s plan. Justices are due to hear arguments this winter in a case brought by six Republican-led states challenging Biden’s executive authority to grant the debt relief.
On Monday, the justices agreed to hear a second case involving two student borrowers who didn’t meet the requirements for Biden’s plan, according to CNN.
Last month, Biden extended the pause on student loan payments until June 30, allowing time for the Supreme Court to rule on the case brought by the GOP states. It’s unclear if the second case would affect that timeline.