What You Need to Know About the Student Debt Relief Application

(Image taken from: https://humbledbudget.com)

Staff Writer: Kelsey Wink

Email: kwink@umassd.edu

On October 17th, 2022, the Biden administration officially launched its student debt relief application, ending months of anticipation for millions of American borrowers. 

President Biden announced his plan for student loan debt relief in August 2022.

The program offers debt relief of $10,000 to those who did not receive Pell Grants or $20,000 for those who did. The income threshold is $125,000 for those who are single or married but file taxes separately, and $250,000 for those who’re married but file taxes jointly, head of household, or qualifying widow(er).

But since then, the administration rolled back eligibility amid legal concerns, complicating matters for some student borrowers. 

As of last month, around 8 million people had already applied for forgiveness through the Department of Education’s website.

The Department of Education has access to enough information to automatically forgive debt accrued from about 8 million borrowers. 

The department can use Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and income-driven repayment application information to figure out who is eligible for automatic loan forgiveness.

A person who qualifies for this kind of automatic forgiveness will receive a notification from the department either via email or text if they signed up for text notifications. 

The applications will be open until the end of 2023, but officials recommend that borrowers do not dilly-dally on this and complete the form as soon as possible.

It’s recommended individuals apply for debt relief before November 15th if they hope to receive the payments in their accounts before the student loan payments resume on January 1, 2023.

The official deadline for the student debt relief application is December 31, 2023 — which gives you a little over a full year to apply.

With that, the application process is quick and easy; it only takes five minutes or less to fill out and no login or documents are needed.

Here’s how to apply:  

You’ll first find the link to the application at studentaid.gov.

(https://studentaid.gov/)

You supply your name, social security number, birthdate, phone number, and email.

You will be required to affirm one of the following conditions existed during calendar years 2020 (Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2020) or 2021 (Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2021):

— “I made less than the required income to file federal taxes.”

— “I filed as a single tax-filer AND made less than $125,000.”

— “I was married, filed my taxes separately, AND made less than $125,000.”

— “I was married, filed my taxes jointly, AND made less than $250,000.”

— “I filed as a head of household AND made less than $250,000.”

— “I filed as a qualifying widow(er) AND made less than $250,000.”

Once you made your choice, you’ll sign the application and simply click submit.

So easy and the application is simple.

After applying, you will be met with the next steps.

The site makes it clear that “unless you hear back from the U.S. Department of Education or your loan servicer, you don’t have to take any other action.”

You may be contacted for more information if you were enrolled as a “dependent student” anytime between July 1st, 2021, and June 30th, 2022 for more information about your parent’s income or in the case where information requires verification.

Make sure if you receive any emails, phone calls, or texts, about loan forgiveness, you remain aware of scammers trying to get your personal information.

(Image taken from the application confirmation page)

For additional details on student loan debt relief — including how debt relief will be applied to your loans — go to the student loan debt relief page.

*(As of Nov. 6th, 2022) Applications are currently open, but debt discharge is paused. As a result of a court order, studentaid.gov is temporarily blocked from processing debt discharges. They still encourage you to apply if you are eligible. They will continue to review applications. They will quickly process discharges when they are able to do so and you will not need to reapply.

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