The White House on Friday encouraged borrowers to apply for federal relief after the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily blocked a plan to cancel billions of dollars in student loans.

The appeals court had issued the stay as it considers a motion from six Republican-led states to block the program. Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina have argued that Biden's plan overstepped the federal government's spending authority.

The program was forced into limbo days after borrowers began applying for loan forgiveness. The court can either issue an injunction which would extend the pause or it can dismiss the case for the program to continue.

"Tonight's temporary order does not prevent borrowers from applying for student debt relief at ... we encourage eligible borrowers to join the nearly 22 million Americans whose information the Department of Education already has," White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday in a statement. "It also does not prevent us from reviewing these applications and preparing them for transmission to loan servicers."

Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said the department is moving "full speed ahead."

The Biden administration had promised not to clear any debt before Sunday, as it anticipated legal challenges. The earliest that debt can be erased is in mid-November.

President Biden has been on the defense of the debt-relief plan, which would allow close to 40 million borrowers making less than $125,000 per year to have up to $10,000 in federal student debt forgiven. Borrowers who received Pell Grants would be able to have up to $20,000 forgiven.

The White House promotes its student debt relief program on Twitter.

"I don't want to hear it from MAGA Republican officials who had hundreds of thousands of dollars of debts, even millions of dollars, in pandemic relief loans forgiven, who now are attacking me for helping working- and middle-class Americans," Biden said in a speech at Delaware State University.

The Biden administration has until Monday to respond to the circuit court's decision.