What You Must Know About Student Loan Forgiveness and Debt Relief Applications
Student Loan Forgiveness: You don’t want to be caught off guard when it comes to federal student debt forgiveness applications.
Individuals earning $125,000 or less (or $250,000 for families) in 2020 or 2021 are eligible for at least $10,000 in federal student loan debt forgiveness. Pell Grant recipients, who are typically low-income undergrads, can receive up to $20,000 in financial aid.
According to the White House, approximately 40 million borrowers are eligible for some form of student debt relief, with approximately 20 million expected to have their entire balance canceled.
If you are one of the fortunate few, follow these steps to ensure that some or all of your debt is forgiven before repayments resume in January.
When Can I Apply for Student loan Forgiveness?
According to the federal government, the application will be available in early October. On Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said there was “no date set yet” for the application form’s release, but that it would still be available in October.
“We’re trying to help everyday Americans,” Jean-Pierre explained.
Who Is Eligible to Apply for the Student Loan Forgiveness?
Only borrowers with federal loans who have an individual income of less than $125,000 or a household income of less than $250,000 are eligible for relief. Pell Grant recipients may have up to $20,000 canceled, while everyone else may have up to $10,000 canceled.
Public servants (those who work for the federal, state, local, tribal, military, or nonprofit organization) with at least ten years of service (which does not have to be consecutive.) may be eligible to have all of their debts forgiven.
The government recently changed the program’s requirements to allow more borrowers to qualify for forgiveness, but the offer is only available for a limited time. Borrowers who want to take advantage of the temporary flexibility must apply before October 31.
If a parent has parent PLUS loans for their child and meets the income eligibility criteria, they may be eligible for debt relief.
There is no forgiveness available for private loans.
How Can I Tell If I Had a Pell Grant?
Create an account (an FSA ID) or login if you already have one at StudentAid.gov. Check that your contact information is correct. If you’ve forgotten your login information, click the Forgot My Username or Forgot My Password links for assistance, or visit the tips page.
Although you are not required to have an FSA ID to apply for forgiveness, having one can be extremely beneficial. It’s where you’ll find out if you received a Pell Grant while in college, for example. It will also show your loan servicer(s), loan types, and what you owe. (If you received a Pell Grant prior to 1994, the information will not appear on StudentAid.gov, but you will still receive the full benefit. Every Pell Grant award is documented by the Department of Education.)
The government will send you updates via email and text message, so sign up for text alerts.
Cost of Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness
According to CBO estimates, Biden’s student loan forgiveness will cost the United States approximately $400 billion.
A Necessity – Loan Servicer Alert
Ensure that your loan servicer has your most up-to-date contact information so that they can reach you. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can view your servicer(s) in your account dashboard by logging into your StudentAid.gov account.
Your servicer(s) will handle the relief and notify you when it is applied to your account. According to the White House, the majority of borrowers will see the forgiveness reflected in their accounts within six weeks.
If you still owe money after debt forgiveness, your monthly payment will be recalculated based on your new balance, potentially lowering it. Your loan servicer will notify you of your new payment amount. Borrowers should apply by mid-November to receive relief before the payment pause expires on December 31st, according to the White House. The application window, however, will remain open until 2023.
How to Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness
The student debt relief application is expected to be available this month. You should receive an email when it is ready, or you can keep checking StudentAid.gov for updates.
Borrowers will not be required to upload any documentation or provide an FSA ID in order to submit their applications. The application will initially be available only online. Later, a paper version will be available.
If they do not opt-out, up to 8 million borrowers will receive automatic forgiveness because the federal government already has their income and loan information. The department uses information from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA, and income-driven repayment applications to identify borrowers – or, as appropriate, parents – who have submitted income data for tax years 2020 or 2021.
Do You Ask If You Can Get a Refund of Past Student Loan Payments?
Borrowers may be eligible for refunds if they made payments during the pandemic that reduced their balance below the amount of relief they would be eligible for. So, if you owed $11,000 and paid it down to $9,000 before March 13, 2020, you could get a $1,000 refund.
Loans Eligible for Forgiveness that You Must Know
Federally held subsidized, unsubsidized, parent PLUS, and Graduate PLUS loans are all eligible. Consolidated loans are also eligible for relief if all of the combined federally held loans were taken out on or before June 30.
The Education Department announced last week that borrowers with commercially held Federal Family Education Loans can no longer apply for debt relief by consolidating their loans into the Direct Loan program. They will, however, be eligible if the loans were consolidated before September 29.
When asked about borrowers who no longer qualify for Federal Family Education Loans, Jean-Pierre stated that the goal has always been to provide relief to borrowers as soon as possible.
“This change will help us achieve that,” she explained.
Several lawsuits contend that the loan forgiveness program is harmful and that the president is exceeding his authority. Any of them has the ability to thwart or delay the plan.
Jean-Pierre said she couldn’t say whether the program would be changed further to narrow the pool of eligible borrowers (and serve to circumvent a lawsuit).
She did say it was “unfortunate” that some people in Republican states were making it more difficult to give “working Americans a little breathing room.”