Biden Says 8 Million Americans Have Already Applied for Student Loan Debt Relief

President Joe Biden said 8 million Americans had already applied for “life-changing relief,” as he formally launched the application for loan borrowers to seek forgiveness on their student debt.

The official launch follows a three-day beta test of the website, Biden said Monday at the White House, where he was joined by Education Secretary Miguel Cardona. Biden said as many as 40 million Americans could benefit from the initiative.

Biden unveiled his plan in August to forgive as much as $20,000 in federal loans for certain borrowers making less than $125,000 per year or $250,000 for spouses. The plan, hailed by progressives and civil-rights groups, made good on one of Biden’s campaign promises and was expected to bolster Democrats in the November midterm elections by encouraging young voters to flock to the polls.

But the plan has also been hit with a number of court challenges from critics who say Biden does not have the authority to authorize such sweeping debt relief without congressional approval.

Republicans have seized on the potential cost of the plan and argued it will fuel inflation which is already at a four-decade high. Price growth has become a political liability for Biden and Democrats ahead of November. The Congressional Budget Office in September estimated that the initiative will cost the US Treasury at least $400 billion in a report requested by two GOP lawmakers.

Biden on Monday acknowledged the legal challenges and criticism from Republicans but said the rollout would continue as planned.