After a long wait and multiple delays, the White House released a preview of the application for federal student loan debt that is due to be officially released later this month.
As of right now, the U.S. Department of Education cannot forgive any student loan debt under President Joe Biden’s one-time cancelation plan until at least October 23, and the actual application is still not accessible. But the Biden administration released a preview trailer of the forgiveness application on Twitter Tuesday.
The Department of Education promised a “seamless and simple experience,” and the preview of the application confirms that it will be short and relatively simple to fill out. Borrowers won’t need to upload any documents—such as a tax return—or even use their Federal Student Aid (FSA) ID to apply. Instead, they’ll need to provide:
- First and last name
- Social Security number
- Date of birth
- Phone number
- Email address
They will also need to verify—under penalty of perjury, with any falsifications possibly leading to fines, jail time, or both—that they earned under $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples) in 2020 or 2021.
Once submitted, the FSA office will determine eligibility and work with each borrower’s loan servicer to process the forgiveness.
While borrowers won’t need to upload documents to apply, some will need to provide income verification after they submit the form. The Education Department will require those it determines are “more likely to exceed the income threshold” to submit documentation such as a tax return, according to Politico. The Education Department did not say how many borrowers will need to do this, but those selected to provide the income information will have until Mar. 31, 2024, to do so.
Borrowers who earned under $125,000 in adjusted gross income in either 2020 or 2021 (or under $250,000 for married couples) are eligible for Biden’s student loan relief. They can have up to $20,000 in federal student loans forgiven if they received a Pell Grant in school, or up to $10,000 if they did not.
The application for forgiveness has been delayed as multiple lawsuits have been filed by conservative groups and politicians against Biden’s relief plan. The administration will defend the plan in federal court on Oct. 12 in Nebraska v. Biden, a suit brought by six conservative state attorneys general. Depending on what the judge decides at the hearing, implementation of the forgiveness program could be further delayed.
In a court filing for that case, the administration said that it will conduct testing of the application form with members of the public before it is officially launched. Those borrowers will receive an email inviting them to test the application. While there is no hard date for the application to go live, the Education Department and White House are still saying it will occur sometime in October.
But the clock is ticking. The Department of Education has said that borrowers will need to apply by mid-November to ensure that their forgiveness application is processed before payments are set to resume following the end of the COVID-19 payment pause in January. Every delay means more and more applicants likely will not apply on time.
When (and if) it does open, the application will be available through December 2023, in both English and Spanish. To be notified when the application goes live officially, borrowers can sign up for notifications from the Department of Education.
More information on Biden’s student loan relief plan:
- Borrowers who hate Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan can now keep their debt
- ‘This is something that has never happened before:’ Student loan borrowers should prepare for site crashes and long waits when forgiveness application goes live
- What borrowers should do now to prepare for student debt forgiveness
- You may be eligible for $20,000 in student debt forgiveness and not even know it
- Millions of student loan borrowers will automatically get a refund for payments made during the pandemic
- Applications for widespread student loan forgiveness will be available in October. Here’s how to apply
- It’s not just graduates: Borrowers currently in college are eligible for Biden’s $10,000 in student loan forgiveness
- White House will forgive $20,000 of student loan debt for Pell Grant recipients
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