Map: Where Biden’s student loan forgiveness could have the most impact
(NEXSTAR) – In roughly a week, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on two cases challenging President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, which accepted about 26 million applications before legal challenges brought the process to a halt.
While the application was open for less than a month, millions of Americans nationwide submitted their requests for relief, data released by the White House earlier this month showed. Of those, 16.5 million were fully approved and passed along to loan servicers for discharge.
Unsurprisingly, two of the most populous states – California and Texas – had the most applicants approved for student debt relief while less-populated states like Wyoming and Alaska had the fewest.
This interactive map offers a state-by-state breakdown of student loan forgiveness applicants approved for relief.
New data from the Department of Education obtained by multiple outlets last week via a Freedom of Information Act request gives an even greater breakdown of where student loan forgiveness could have an impact, if it isn’t struck down or altered by the Supreme Court.
The new data, displayed in the map below, shows how many borrowers per congressional district were fully approved for debt relief. According to the Education Department, the loan servicers of these borrowers were also notified of the approved request for debt discharge.
In most congressional districts, between 60 and 65 percent of eligible borrowers applied or were automatically deemed eligible for student loan forgiveness, according to the Education Department's data.
In late November, the Department of Education began notifying millions of borrowers that their application for loan relief had been approved. By then, the program was already being challenged in court, and the department wasn't able to discharge loans.
The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in two cases over the program on Feb. 28: one from a pair of individual borrowers who didn't qualify for the maximum relief of $20,000 and the other from six Republican-led states. The Biden administration has argued that neither group of challengers have the legal capacity to sue over the program.
Across those six Republican-led states - Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina - the Biden administration estimates there are nearly 2.9 million student loan borrowers that could qualify for relief, 1.1 million of which were approved for forgiveness.
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