President Biden unveiled an unprecedented student loan cancellation plan last week. The initiative, implemented through executive action, will provide up to $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness to up to 20 million borrowers, many of whom will automatically receive the relief.
When the plan was first announced, some key details remained unclear. But the Department for Education has since provided additional information as borrowers seek to apply for relief. Here is the latest.
Biden Student Loan Forgiveness Application Process
The Ministry of Education has indicated that approximately 8 million borrowers who already have their income information on file with the ministry will be eligible for automatic student loan forgiveness. Most of these borrowers will have submitted their income data as part of a recent income-based repayment plan application. Under Biden’s initiative, borrowers must earn less than $125,000 a year (or $250,000 if married) to qualify for loan forgiveness.
But most borrowers will need to submit an application to request Biden’s student loan forgiveness. On Friday, senior Education Ministry officials said a formal request for student loan cancellation for the program would be available by early October. Once a borrower submits the request, the Department expects to provide relief within four to six weeks. Officials are encouraging borrowers to submit their application by November 15, 2022 to receive loan forgiveness before the student loan pause ends in December. However, applications received after this date will still be processed on a rolling basis.
“[The Education Department] has a plan to make sure student loan forgiveness is as easy as 1,2,3,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a Tweeter on Friday explaining the process.
Borrowers can register here to receive a notification when the student loan forgiveness application is ready.
Loans from the FFEL program may be eligible for Biden’s student loan forgiveness
In its initial announcement, the Department of Education said only “loans held by the Department of Education” would be eligible for student loan forgiveness. This suggested that borrowers with loans from the business-held FFEL program (a former federal student loan program where the government guaranteed loans issued by the private sector) could be excluded.
The department has since suggested that FFEL loans could qualify if consolidated into a federal direct consolidation loan, as reported by the New York Times. However, the Department of Education has yet to issue official written guidelines to confirm this, and exact details – including whether there is a specific time frame for FFEL borrowers to consolidate – remain unclear.
Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Is a Unique Opportunity
Education Department officials confirmed Friday that Biden’s student loan forgiveness initiative is a unique opportunitythe borrower should therefore not expect this to happen again.
Details on the Biden student loan forgiveness initiative can be found here.
Further Reading on Student Loans
How to get up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness under Biden’s new plan
Biden announces historic student loan forgiveness of up to $20,000 and extended student loan pause: key details
Who qualifies for nearly $4 billion in automatic student loan forgiveness under new Biden initiative
If You’ve Been To These Schools, You May Qualify For Student Loan Forgiveness: Here’s What To Do