Student Loan Forgiveness
October 18, 2022
Earlier this summer, the Biden Administration and the U.S. Department of Education announced their long-awaited plan to help relieve student debt for the American people. This includes the highly anticipated student loan forgiveness plan. The loan forgiveness process has officially started, so it’s important that all student loan holders be aware of whether they qualify for loan forgiveness, as well as the steps they need to take in order to benefit from this forgiveness.
The Student Loan Debt Relief application is now available on the Department of Education’s website. Click here to apply today! Borrowers will have until Dec. 31, 2023, to submit their applications. Now – here’s what you need to know about student loan forgiveness.
How much debt is being forgiven?
- Up to $20,000 if you received a Federal Pell Grant
- Up to $10,000 if you did NOT receive a Federal Pell Grant
When they say up to, this means they will forgive up to that amount on an outstanding balance. So, if you only owe $8,000 in student loans, they will only forgive $8,000.
A Pell Grant is a type of aid available to low-income undergraduate students. More than 60% of the borrowers who are estimated to benefit from the administration’s forgiveness plan are Pell Grant recipients. If you’re unsure of whether you received a Pell Grant, you can check your account on studentaid.gov under the section titled “My Aid” or you can consult your college.
Who is eligible for relief?
- Borrowers who make less than $125,000 per year
- Married couples, or head of households, earning less than $250,000.
Borrowers who are employed by non-profits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This is because of time-limited changes that waive certain eligibility criteria in the PSLF program. These temporary changes expire on October 31, 2022. For more information on eligibility and requirements, visit PSLF.gov
Which student loans qualify for relief?
The following types of federal student loans with an outstanding balance as of June 30, 2022, are eligible for relief:
- William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans:
- Subsidized loans
- Unsubsidized loans
- Parent PLUS loans
- Graduate PLUS loans
- Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by ED or in default at a guaranty agency
- Federal Perkins Loan Program loans held by ED
- Defaulted loans (includes ED-held or commercially serviced Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, parent PLUS, and graduate PLUS; and Perkins loans held by ED)
Consolidation loans are eligible for relief, if all of the underlying loans that were consolidated were first disbursed on or before June 30, 2022.
If federal student loans were consolidated into private student loans, they do not qualify for forgiveness.
If I took out a student loan this summer, do I qualify for relief?
Loans that were disbursed prior to June 30, 2022, are eligible for forgiveness, as long as they meet all of the other criteria. Student loans taken out after June 30, 2022 will NOT be included in the relief.
What if I recently made a large payment to or paid off my student loans?
According to updated administration guidance, borrowers will automatically receive a refund of payments during the payment pause if the borrower qualifies, applies, and is approved for the new student loan forgiveness initiative, and if their voluntary payments made brought their federal student loan balance below the maximum amount of loan forgiveness they would have been eligible for.
An example from the Department of Education:
“If you’re a borrower eligible for $10,000 in relief; had a balance of $10,500 prior to March 13, 2020; and made $1,000 in payments since then—bringing your balance to $9,500 at the time of discharge— [the Education Department will] discharge your $9,500 balance, and you’ll receive a $500 refund.”
Based on the criteria, I am eligible for student loan forgiveness… Now what?
The Department of Education has officially started accepting applications for student loan relief. Click here to apply today!
The Department of Education has stated they already have the earnings information for nearly 8 million borrowers because they were enrolled in income-driven repayment plans that already required this information. These people may get automatic forgiveness.
When will I get my forgiveness?
The turn-around time is estimated to be around 8 weeks, from the time all necessary information has been submitted by the borrower until their debt is discharged, according to a spokesperson from the Department of Education. The deadline to apply for forgiveness will be Dec. 31st, 2023.
How do I know if I got my forgiveness?
The best thing you can do right now is print your loan statements/balances or take screenshots of your student loan balances so you can make sure they drop by the correct amount once the forgiveness happens.
The Biden Administration has stated that this is the final payment pause, and come January 1, 2023, payments will begin again. Borrowers should, regardless of whether they are eligible for student loan forgiveness, log into their Student Aid accounts to ensure all their information is still up to date prior to payments starting back up. This is also a good time to assess your student loan situation and plan for how you tackle the rest of your student loan debt after you’ve received forgiveness.
With questions about your student loans, student loan consolidations, or budgeting assistance for your upcoming payments, reach out to one of our experts at Family First today, or contact us at [email protected].
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Sarah graduated with her BFA in Graphic Design from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2018 before starting her career as Branding & PR Specialist at Family First. Sarah is a designer, content creator, and community outreach coordinator. She helps to build and implement new programs and promotions at the credit union, and is also a certified financial counselor.