President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan is currently making its way through the U.S. court system for final approval. However, you shouldn’t wait to find out whether or not it goes through, as applications are available now. Even if you have a debt payoff strategy that’s already working, it’s worth your time to see if you’re one of the millions of Americans eligible for student loan forgiveness. Here’s how to do it.
Step 1: Visit the U.S. DOE website
The application is housed on the U.S. Department of Education website. You’ll need to gather some required information, like your current loan balance and the date of your student loan repayment.
Step 2: Verify your eligibility
Once you’ve gathered the necessary data, you’ll need to verify your eligibility. This can be done by checking a few boxes on the DOE website. If everything looks good, you’re ready to apply!
Step 3: Submit an application
You’ll need to fill out an online application form and upload supporting documentation. Make sure to include any verification letters from your school or previous employers. Your application will be reviewed, and you may be contacted for additional information. If everything checks out, assuming forgiveness is approved by the courts, you’ll receive a notification that your application has been accepted or denied.
How will I know if I’m eligible?
To be eligible for this round of student loan debt forgiveness, you must:
- Be a U.S. citizen
- Have outstanding student loan debt
- Earn less than $125,000 per year if single or $250,000 per year per household
- To see if you qualify for the additional Pell Grant forgiveness, log into the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website and click “Aid Summary.” There you’ll see all loans and grants you’ve received, plus their current statuses. Any Pell Grants will be listed there.
- Parent and grad PLUS loans also qualify
How much can I get forgiven?
Americans with federal student loans can get up to $10,000 of their student loan debt canceled. If you have a Pell Grant and meet eligibility requirements, you can have up to $20,000 of student loan debt canceled.
“Up to” is a key phrase here, and you won’t receive any extra money should your balance be lower than $10,000 (or $20,000, respectively). So if your current balance owed is $7,230, you’ll have $7,230 in loan debt canceled only; you will not receive the remaining $2,770.
How will the forgiveness be disbursed?
The DOE has listed the hierarchy it’ll use to disburse the debt cancellation:
- Defaulted DOE loans
- Defaulted Federal Family Education (FFEL) Program loans
- Direct loans held by FFEL or DOE
- Perks Loans
To determine which agency holds your loans, log into the FSA website and select “My Aid.” In the “Loan Breakdown” area, you’ll see all loans taken out in your name. Click “View Loans” then “View Loan Details” and look for the name of your servicer. If it starts with “Dept. of Ed” or “Default Management Collection System,” your loans are eligible for forgiveness.
What if I’m behind on my payments?
All student loan debt that’s federally funded is eligible for cancelation (should the order go through). The DOE will first use any eligible forgiveness you have to cover defaulted federal loans.
What if I never graduated?
You’re still eligible to apply.
What if SCOTUS doesn’t approve the loan forgiveness?
If the Supreme Court overrules the Biden Administration, not all hope is lost. There are other ways to apply for student loan forgiveness, though they’re more difficult to receive.