If you’ve refreshed StudentAid.gov since President Joe Biden announced plans to forgive up to $20,000 in student loan debt for borrowers, the wait is finally over.
The student loan forgiveness application is officially online for the more than 40 million Americans eligible for debt forgiveness.
The US Department of Education quietly launched a beta test of the form on Friday evening. The app’s availability fluctuated throughout the weekend as the department addressed system flaws.
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In an update announcement Monday afternoon, Biden — alongside Education Secretary Miguel Cardona — said more than 8 million borrowers had applied for debt forgiveness over the weekend “without issue. nor difficulty”. Borrowers who applied for loan forgiveness using the beta app do not need to reapply now that the form is officially live.
In August, Biden announced he was canceling up to $10,000 in student loan debt for people earning less than $125,000 a year (or $250,000 for married couples) and up to $20,000 for eligible borrowers who were also Pell Grant recipients.
Borrowers must have student loans held by the federal government, not private loans, to qualify.
Is it difficult to apply for student loan forgiveness online?
Borrowers visiting StudentAid.gov for the first time since the app went live will be greeted with the message “Are you looking for student debt relief?” and a button to access the application.
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The application is short and easy to complete, Biden said during the announcement. Borrowers do not need an FSA ID to log into the application, and they do not need to include tax documents or verify their income to apply.
Applicants only need to include basic information, including name, date of birth, social security number, phone number, and an email address. Many borrowers who have already applied shared on social media that the application took five minutes to complete.
It can be completed on mobile and desktop devices, and it is also available in English and Spanish.
The US Department of Education may contact borrowers for more information to verify their income. The department estimates that between 1 million and 5 million borrowers may be required to submit more information to verify their income or eligibility.
When can I expect to see a change in my balance?
After you submit your application, don’t expect your balance to change overnight.
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In a legal filing, the US Department of Education said it “will not discharge any student loan debt under the Debt Relief Plan until October 23, 2022.” The Biden administration is currently pursuing several lawsuits seeking to block the cancellation of student loans.
“Litigation is ongoing and our legal judgment is that it will not interfere” with people seeking loan forgiveness, Biden said Monday. “But they are trying to stop him.”
The ministry previously said borrowers should expect to see debt relief hit their accounts within four to six weeks of applying.
This one-time application for student loan forgiveness will be available until December 31, 2023.
Sheridan Hendrix is a higher education reporter for The Columbus Dispatch. Sign up for his Mobile Newsroom newsletter here and Extra Credit, his education newsletter, here.