The Student Loan Forgiveness Application is now available online. How to Apply and Have Your Debt Forgiven

The Department of Education unveiled the site’s beta version on Friday night, allowing Americans with student loan debt to begin applying for loan cancellation.

Millions of Americans can now take the first step toward debt forgiveness on federal student loans between $10,000 and $20,000. According to the Department of Education’s website, the application is “simple and easy to use.”

In August, the president announced a comprehensive federal student loan forgiveness program applicable to the vast majority of borrowers.

Borrowers with incomes below $125,000 can have $10,000 in federal student loan debt forgiven, while married couples with incomes below $250,000 qualify for $10,000 per person in debt forgiveness. If they meet the income requirements, Pell grant recipients are eligible for an additional $10,000 in loan cancellation, for a total of $20,000 in loan forgiveness.

While Biden’s plan to forgive student loan debt was applauded by those with outstanding loans, it faced immediate opposition from political opponents. Faced with mounting legal challenges, the Biden administration rescinded debt cancellation for hundreds of thousands of borrowers in secret.

According to updated Department of Education guidance, borrowers with Perkins loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) with private lenders are no longer eligible for loan cancellation if they did not apply to consolidate them by September 29.

The White House continues to estimate that approximately 43 million federal student loan borrowers are eligible for loan forgiveness; however, the majority will need to submit an application to receive forgiveness.

The Department of Education only has income information for about 8 million federal student loan borrowers and recommends that every borrower apply, including those who may qualify automatically.

Now that the application is available, keep in mind the following dates and information regarding student loan forgiveness:

Important Dates and Information Regarding Student Loan Forgiveness

Nov. 15: Recommended Deadline to Apply

Begin gathering your income information now, because the Department of Education recommends completing the application by November 15 in order to receive forgiveness before payments resume in January. If your application is approved, you can expect relief within 4-6 weeks.

Jan. 1, 2023: Student Loan Payments Resume

After a three-year hiatus, federal student loan payments are set to resume at the start of next year. Experts advise creating a future budget now that accounts for potentially lower monthly student loan payments and focusing on other important aspects of your finances. Create an emergency fund, pay off high-interest debt, or invest in a traditional retirement plan to make your money go further right now.

Application Closes

The Department of Education will continue to process student loan forgiveness applications until the end of 2023, but you must apply by mid-November to receive relief before the payment pause period expires.

How to Avoid Scams and Apply for Student Loan Forgiveness Safely

Be cautious if you receive emails, phone calls, or text messages about student loan forgiveness from unknown numbers or people. Scams and misinformation about Biden’s loan forgiveness are on the rise, and federal officials are warning the public.

The White House recently announced plans to crack down on student loan scammers across the country, as well as guidance to help borrowers avoid fraud related to student loan forgiveness. According to the Department of Education, here are some dos and don’ts.

Don’ts

  • Don’t pay anyone to have your loans forgiven. The application for loan forgiveness is free of charge.
  • Give no one your FSA ID, account information, or password. The Department of Education or your loan servicer will never contact you or send you an email requesting this information.
  • Never give out personal or financial information over the phone to someone you don’t know.
  • If you aren’t aware of the risks, don’t refinance your federal student loans. You will no longer be eligible for Biden’s one-time debt cancellation plan if you refinance your federal student loans into private loans.

Dos

  • On studentaid.gov, you can create an FSA ID. You will not need it to apply for loan forgiveness, but it will provide you with quick access to important loan information.
  • Check that your loan servicer has your current contact information. If you don’t know who your loan servicer is, log in to your studentaid.gov account to find out.
  • To receive important updates on Biden’s loan forgiveness plan, sign up for email alerts at www.ed.gov/subscriptions.

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