Borrowers can now start applying online for relief under President Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan, which is expected to cancel billions of dollars in student debt for low- and middle-income families.
The beta version of the website went live on Friday evening for borrowers to complete and submit their applications – although they won’t be processed until the site officially launches later this month.
In a September press release, the White House said it expected more than 40 million borrowers to qualify for the debt relief package, while about 20 million borrowers could see their full balances. remaining eliminated.
Applications will be open through Dec. 31, 2023, but the White House is encouraging borrowers to apply by Nov. 15 to get them processed before student loan repayments and interest resume in January.
How to register
The department launched the beta test to check for bugs and improve the site before it officially goes live. And although this is a test for a wider launch, anyone who chooses to apply during this time and successfully receives their confirmation email will not have to resubmit their forms later when the site will be posted.
“Apps will be available intermittently during this time,” the department notes. “If you try and it’s not available, try again later or wait until the app is available to all borrowers.”
Keep in mind that according to a filing by the administration earlier this month, the department won’t forgive any student debt until Oct. 23.
The Department for Education says around 8 million borrowers automatically qualify for relief without applying – unless they decide to opt out – since it already has their income data. However, he still encourages all eligible borrowers to apply regardless.
The form takes approximately five minutes to complete and is available in English and Spanish. You will enter your name, social security number, date of birth, phone number, and email address. You will also need to confirm that you meet income eligibility. And if the Ministry of Education doesn’t have your details yet, you may be asked to provide proof of income by March 31, 2024.
Once you’ve applied, the ministry says most borrowers can expect to receive forgiveness within four to six weeks.
Who is eligible?
You will need to meet certain income requirements to qualify for the relief.
Borrowers who made less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021 (and households who made less than $250,000 in either year) could get up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt.
Pell Grant recipients — who are considered to be in “exceptional financial need” — can receive up to $20,000 in debt relief.
Private or non-federal loans are not eligible for this plan, although if you consolidated your federal family education loans (FFEL) or your Perkins loans into direct loans before September 29 of this year, they will be eligible for debt relief.
And note that if your balance is less than the maximum relief offered, the amount you receive will be capped at your outstanding eligible debt.
Beware of scams
The Biden administration has reportedly cracked down on student loan scams and recently released a Do’s and Don’ts page for borrowers to protect themselves.
In a press release earlier this month, the White House announced that the FTC had reached nearly $30 million in settlements which “included refunds for tens of thousands of student borrowers who were illegally charged upfront fees and falsely promised to reduce or eliminate student loan repayments.
The Department for Education notes that borrowers should work directly with it and its loan officers – and be wary of companies that approach you to get your loan discharged in exchange for a fee.
You can report attempted fraud to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357 or by submitting a form online at reportfraud.ftc.gov.
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This article provides information only and should not be construed as advice. It is provided without warranty of any kind.