Science

9 million Americans were wrongly told they were approved for student loan forgiveness

Nearly 9 million Americans with student loans who applied for the Biden administration’s student-loan forgiveness program mistakenly received emails last month saying their applications had been approved.

The messages were part of an update issued by the Department for Education in November Notify 16 million debt relief applicants that he was allowed to forgive up to $20,000. Due to legal challenges halting the process, an additional 9 million people received emails saying they had received loan forgiveness when they were not approved for relief, according to officials. And others who had not yet applied for the Student Loan Relief Program also received the email.

The error was made by Accenture Federal Services, a contractor for the Department of Education, which sent the emails on November 22 and 23. The mistake may only add to the confusion among some borrowers about the debt-relief program, which remains in limbo following multiple legal challenges with the Supreme Court earlier this month. willing to listen One of the cases.

About 26 million people applied for the debt relief effort before the court rulings, which have effectively halted the Biden administration’s ability to accept new applications. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has extended stay On student loan repayments, which were put on hold until June 30, 2023, to resume in January, to give borrowers more breathing room if legal challenges proceed.

On 8 December, the Job Creators Network, a conservative group, said it had submitted a request to the Supreme Court to hear a second case related to the debt-relief program. The group filed the lawsuit in October, arguing that the Biden administration violated federal procedures by failing to seek public input on the program.

“improvement work”

A spokeswoman for the Department of Education said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch, “Communicating clear and accurate communications with borrowers is a top priority for the department.” “We are in close contact with Accenture Federal Services as they take corrective action to ensure accurate information about debt relief is available to all borrowers and those affected.”

The email subject line falsely informed 9 million recipients: “Your Student Loan Debt Relief Plan Has Been Approved.” However, the text of the letter was precise, letting those recipients know that the determination of their eligibility would continue “if and when we prevail in court”.

The corrected emails will be sent to the recipients who received the emails in error over the next few days.

In a statement to CBS MoneyWatch, Accenture attributed the issue to “human error”.

“Accenture Federal Services regrets the human error that caused an email to be sent to many student loan debt relief applicants with the wrong subject line,” the firm said. “Working closely with the Department, Accenture Federal Services will review quality control measures to support accurate and timely communications to applicants in the student loan debt relief program.”

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