BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Hundreds of thousands of Alabamians have been “fully approved” for student loan debt forgiveness, according to numbers released by the White House on Friday. Only a final court decision on the debt relief program’s legality is standing in the way of loan forgiveness, the White House said.

According to the data provided by the Biden Administration, 373,000 Alabamians applied or were deemed automatically eligible for student loan debt relief. The applications of around 238,000 Alabamians were fully approved and sent to loan servicers for discharge, the White House report said.

The number of Alabamians who applied or were deemed automatically eligible for the debt forgiveness represents a significant portion — around 7.4 percent — of Alabama’s entire population.

Biden announced in August 2022 that his administration would forgive up to $20,000 in debt relief for student loan borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year. The debt relief program was paused, however, after lawsuits challenging the student loan forgiveness began making their way through federal court. The Supreme Court has decided to hear the challenge to the program, which was backed by several Republican states, later this year.

In its Friday release, White House officials noted that but for court action blocking the discharge of debt, those facing the financial burden of student loan debts would already be benefitting from the program.

“These borrowers could be benefitting from the Administration’s program right now were it not for lawsuits brought by elected officials and special interests,” the White House said.