Biden touts launch of student loan forgiveness website
More than 8 million people applied on the beta version of the site over the weekend, officials said.
President Joe Biden announced the opening of the student loan forgiveness application on Monday, touting the initial rollout of the beta application over the weekend and the simplicity of the application process.
"It's easy, simple and fast," he said during remarks on Monday. "No forms to upload. No special login to remember. It's available in English and in Spanish on desktop and mobile."
Over 8 million people applied already on the beta site over the weekend, "without a glitch or any difficulty," said Biden, and thanked the "talented group of data scientists and engineers across the government" who built the application.
The studentaid.gov domain received more than 13.4 million visits over the last seven days, according to the federal government's analytics tracker.
One Twitter user said that it took them "5 minutes" to fill out the application in a tweet that's garnered over 56,000 likes.
Donald Moynihan, public policy professor at Georgetown and administrative burdens expert, wrote in a blog post last week that the application "is well-designed, given constraints, and bears all the hallmarks of a presidential administration paying careful attention to administrative burdens."
Among the decisions that make it so is the use of administrative data on the backend to process applications where possible – the Education Department has said that around 8 million borrowers may be automatically eligible for relief without applications because the department already has data on them.
Moynihan also noted that the application does not require individuals to interface with lenders in addition to the government. Instead, the White House has said that Federal Student Aid will be determining eligibility and processing relief with lenders on the backend.
"This follows a simple rule of burden reduction: shift burdens onto the state where possible," wrote Moynihan.
The application also doesn't require documentation, instead opting for self-attested details. FSA says that it will follow up with borrowers where it needs more details to verify income.
As to what it takes to make all of this happen, Dave Guarino, currently working in the Labor Department's Office of Unemployment Insurance Modernization and formerly of tech nonprofit Code for America, noted in a Twitter thread on his personal account that "such a short form is (almost in all cases) predicated on both the existence of an administrative database, and the existing legal permission to use said data for the purpose."
Another ingredient is "to have implementers guiding that work from the start," tweeted Amanda Renteria, CEO of tech nonprofit Code for America, last week.
The application will be open through Dec. 31. The White House has said that most borrowers can expect relief in 6 weeks.