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Dept. of Education reverses course on some student loan forgiveness

President Joe Biden offers remarks in the White House on August 24 with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona after announcing a federal student loan relief plan that includes forgiving up to $20,000 for some borrowers and extending the payment freeze. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/920c34a2d3ba63cd0cb490c19ca2d1ed/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
President Joe Biden offers remarks in the White House on August 24 with Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona after announcing a federal student loan relief plan that includes forgiving up to $20,000 for some borrowers and extending the payment freeze. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The Biden administration and the Department of Education rolled back some of its student debt relief program Thursday as some Republican states have issued legal challenges to the program.

Borrowers with privately held federal student loans no longer will be able to receive loan forgiveness under the updated plan. Several million of the 45 million Americans who owe federal student loans fall into this category, according to Politico.

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Private lenders and other companies that participate in the program are seen as the greatest legal threat to the program.

Some legal experts told NPR that the reversal in policy was likely made out of concern that the private banks that manage old FFEL loans could potentially file lawsuits to stop the debt relief, arguing that Biden's plan would cause them financial harm.

The Department of Education said that borrowers who already have taken steps to receive loan forgiveness can still get it, but other borrowers who have not begun the process will not be eligible.

"Our goal is to provide relief to as many eligible borrowers as quickly and easily as possible, and this will allow us to achieve that goal while we continue to explore additional legally-available options to provide relief to borrowers with privately owned FFEL loans and Perkins loans, including whether FFEL borrowers could receive one-time debt relief without needing to consolidate," an Education Department spokesperson said in a statement.

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