Student Loan Debt Forgiveness FAQ: Who Gets Relief, How Much Is Canceled and When Will It Happen?
Get all the details on President Biden's plan for student loan debt forgiveness.
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The White House's plan will forgive federal student loan debt for borrowers who earned less than $125,000 -- or less than $250,000 for heads of households or married couples filing jointly. Along with undergraduate federal loans, the plan covers graduate and parent PLUS loans, according the the Washington Post.
Which student loans are included in debt forgiveness?
Almost all student loans provided by the government -- including Pell grants -- qualify for the forgiveness plan. These loans include direct loans (subsidized or unsubsidized), graduate PLUS loans and parent PLUS loans. If your loan was included in the moratorium on student loan payments and interest that has been in effect since March 2020, it will be eligible for the debt forgiveness plan.
Private loans made by banks, credit unions or other financial institutions are not included.
What about FFEL and Perkins loans?
Federal Family Education loans and Perkins loans that are held by the federal government are eligible for student loan debt forgiveness. However, FFEL and Perkins loans held by private lenders do not qualify. Borrowers with privately held FFEL and Perkins loans must have consolidated their student loans with the federal government by Sept. 29, 2022, in order to be eligible for forgiveness.
According to the student debt cancellation page on the Federal Student Aid website, the Department of Education is "assessing whether there are alternative pathways to provide relief to borrowers with federal student loans not held by ED, including FFEL Program loans and Perkins Loans, and is discussing this with private lenders."
How do I apply to have my debt forgiven?
About 8 million borrowers will automatically have their debt canceled because their income information is already filed with the Education Department. The department could have your information if, for example, you are enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.
If the Education Department doesn't have your income data, you'll need to complete an online application that the White House plans to launch soon. In an Aug. 26 press briefing, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council Bharat Ramamurti said that, "the application will be available by early October."
For those who qualify under the income caps, the White House plan would erase $10,000 of debt from their federal student loans. Those with Pell grants, roughly 27 million borrowers, would get an additional $10,000 of their debt canceled, bringing their total to $20,000 in canceled debt, according to a White House press release.
In all, the plan is expected to wipe out $321 billion in federal student loans.
Roughly one-third (31%) of borrowers will see their entire debt erased, according to the Fed, while the average borrower would receive $8,478 in student loan forgiveness.
Will the administration cap monthly loan repayments?
The administration is also proposing a cap on monthly undergraduate student loan repayments at 5% of the borrower's monthly salary, a major change from the 10% cap under the current repayment plan.
The proposed plan would cover the borrower's unpaid monthly interest, so their loan balance would not grow so long as they made regular minimum monthly payments, the Education Department said.
Loan repayments have been paused seven times since former President Donald Trump's administration first instituted a moratorium in March 2020.
I'm still in college with student loans. Will $10,000 of my federal student loan debt be canceled after I graduate?
Students currently in college with loans are eligible to have their loans forgiven. However, borrowers who are dependent students will be eligible based on parental income, rather than their own income, the administration said.