The Biden-Harris Administration recently announced a federal student loan cancellation plan. The initiative applies to borrowers with federally-held education loans – the same loans that are covered by the pandemic-related payment pause. Eligible loans must have been disbursed by June 30, 2022.
Under the Biden-Harris plan, borrowers with annual income below $125,000 (individuals) and $250,000 (married couples/head of households) may have up to $10,000 of their federal student loans cancelled. If borrowers also received a Pell Grant when in school, then their loan forgiveness may be up to $20,000. If the borrower was enrolled as a dependent student in the 2021-22 school year, the parent(s) income will be used to determine the income threshold.
Cancellation will be automatic if the Department of Education has the borrower’s income data for tax years 2020 or 2021. If the Department does not have the borrower’s income information, borrowers must submit a simple application. The Department will make the application available in early October.
The Department of Education recommends that borrowers covered by the payment pause apply for the cancellation by November 15, 2022 to obtain the cancellation before the payment pause ends. However, the Department will continue to accept applications up to December 31, 2023.
Borrowers can view their loan balances and check their Pell Grant status by logging into their Federal Student Aid account online at www.studentaid.gov.
As of Sept. 29, 2022, borrowers with federal student loans not held by the Department cannot obtain one-time debt relief by consolidating those loans into the Direct Loan program. Borrowers with FFEL Program loans and Perkins Loans not held by the Department who have applied to consolidate into the Direct Loan program prior to Sept. 29, 2022, are eligible for one-time debt relief through the Direct Loan program. The Department is assessing whether there are alternative pathways to provide relief to borrowers with federal student loans not held by the Department, including FFEL Program loans and Perkins Loans, and is discussing this with private lenders.
Be skeptical of information disseminated from sources other than the Department of Education and your servicer. Beware of scammers trying to take advantage of the Biden-Harris announcement. No legitimate company is going to charge you to help you apply for or receive the cancellation.
We encourage you to go directly to the Federal Student Aid website, www.studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement/, and FAQ page, https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief-announcement/one-time-cancellation, for the most up-to-date information or contact your servicer.