How To Apply For Biden’s One-Time Student Loan Forgiveness Program Beta Launch
By now, you have heard all about President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan. If not, this plan is set to forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for eligible borrowers, or up to $20,000 in debt for students who used Pell Grants to attend school. Income limits apply as well, and it was recently reported that some types of federal student loans (i.e. Perkins Loans and FFEL Loans) are not included in this relief.
Even though several legal actions have threatened the implementation of this program, the Beta version of the application to apply for Biden’s one-time student loan forgiveness program just went live.
Read on to learn how to apply for up to $20,000 in forgiveness of eligible federal student loans, as well as steps you can take to ensure you submit all the information the federal government requires.
How To Apply For Biden’s One-Time Student Loan Forgiveness Program
First off, it’s worth noting that the U.S. Department of Education says nearly 8 million borrowers may get this forgiveness automatically (without applying) provided they don’t opt out. This is due to the fact the government already has the relevant income data required to qualify.
That said, those who are unsure whether the Dept. of Education has their data do need to apply, and the Department of Education is actively encouraging all eligible borrowers to apply no matter what.
Even though the application for student loan forgiveness is still in Beta, the application is clear that “If you submit an application, it will be processed, and you won’t need to resubmit.”
5 Steps to Apply for $10,000 to $2,0000 in Student Loan Forgiveness Beta Launch
The U.S. Department of Education has a set deadline of December 31, 2023 for applications for this plan. However, borrowers should definitely apply as soon as they can, especially since those who apply early may see their loan forgiveness kick in before payments resume on federal student loans in January of 2023.
Now that the details are out and we know what it takes to submit an application, here are the steps you’ll need to take to receive relief.
Note: It’s a one-page application, but read the directions carefully and ensure that you completely and accurately fill it out.
- Step 1: Head to StudentAid.gov/Debt-Relief/ and Select “Apply For Student Loan Debt Relief During Beta Launch”
- Step 2: Enter your personal information (Name, Social Security Number, Birthday, Phone, and Email Address)
- Step 3: Review and confirm that you meet the income and other requirements for the correct tax years (2020 or 2021)
- Step 4: Enter your name again as a signature
- Step 5: Check the box that the information you are providing is correct under penalty of perjury
After you complete the form, simply hit submit at the bottom.
Once the application is submitted, the U.S. Department of Education says most borrowers will see their eligible student loan debt fall off their accounts in around six weeks.
Some Borrowers May Have To Provide Income Verification
According to the Department of Education, between 1 million and 5 million borrowers will be required to provide income verification.
If you’re selected to verify your income, after you hit submit a secondary form called the “Student Loan Debt Relief Income Verification” form will appear, and you’ll be asked to login with your FSA ID.
Once you login, you’ll be asked to upload one of the following:
- A copy of your IRS Form 1040 from 2020 or 2021
- A copy of your IRS Tax Return Transcript from 2020 or 2021
- IRS Verification of Non-Filing Letter from 2020 or 2021
It’s estimated that the income verification will take borrowers upwards of 30 minutes to complete.
Who Is Eligible For Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan?
Federal Direct student loans are eligible for up to $10,000 in forgiveness (or up to $20,000 in forgiveness for Pell Grant recipients) provided a borrower’s income is below certain thresholds for either the 2020 or 2021 tax year.
However, commercially-held FFEL (Federal Family Education Loan) program loans and Perkins Loans are not eligible for relief. Also note that private student loan debt does not qualify for this program.
Specifically, these income thresholds are set at $125,000 for individuals and $250,000 for married couples and heads of households. Also be aware that these income thresholds appear to be “cliff” thresholds, so earning even a little too much in both years can make you entirely ineligible for forgiveness.
It’s also worth noting that relief is for “up to $10,000” or “up to $20,000,” but that some borrowers who easily meet the income thresholds will not receive that much forgiveness. This is due to the fact forgiveness is capped at the actual amount of debt you have. In other words, someone who earned $75,000 in 2020 or 21 but only has $7,000 in federal student loan debt will only receive $7,000 in forgiveness.
If you made voluntary payments during the Covid-19 payment pause, you’re eligible to have those student loan payments refunded. While some refunds may be automatic, if you are not sure, or if you completely paid off your loans, you need to call your loan servicer to have this processed. Learn more about how to get a refund of your student loan payments here.
The Bottom Line
If you believe you’re eligible for federal student loan forgiveness, it makes sense to get your application going as soon as possible. After all, the U.S. Department of Education is known for moving at a snail’s pace, and there will be millions of applicants applying for this relief all at once.
Your best move now is figuring out exactly what you need to know to apply and submitting all the required information as soon as you possibly can. Fortunately, the Department of Education says most borrowers won’t need to upload documentation or have an FSA ID to apply for relief.