Good news: The online application for the Biden Administration’s student debt cancellation is now officially open!
And the application is fast and easy–you don’t need to submit any documents or even log-in to your StudentAid.gov account. It will probably take you 5 minutes or less to apply. You can apply now on your cell phone or on a computer. The application is available in both English and Spanish.
That means you can apply today to have $10,000 to $20,000 in eligible federal student loan debt canceled. Apply now at studentaid.gov/debtrelief/apply.
Detailed FAQ on Cancellation:
One Page Checklist on Cancellation:
A paper application should be available later as well.
The application will be open through the end of next year (until December 31, 2023), but the Biden Administration is urging borrowers to apply as soon as possible since student loan bills are scheduled to resume in January 2023. It may take 4-6 weeks after you apply for the Department to approve your application and apply the cancellation to your account.
Here are answers to a few common questions about this new cancellation program:
Who is eligible for one-time student debt cancellation?
The Biden Administration estimates that 40 million working and middle class Americans are eligible for cancellation. Borrowers are eligible for one-time student debt cancellation if they:
1. Made less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples filing jointly and for those filing as head of household) in either 2020 or 2021
2. Have eligible loans–i.e. loans that are held by the Department of Education. In general, loans that were eligible for the payment pause (Direct Loans, defaulted federal student loans, and other loans “held” by the Department of Education) are also eligible for cancellation. Most federal loans will be eligible. If you aren’t sure if your loans are eligible, you can still apply and let the government figure that out.
More details on these eligibility requirements are available here.
How much debt will be canceled for eligible borrowers?
Borrowers who meet the above eligibility requirements will receive up to $10,000 in debt cancellation and up to $20,000 in cancellation if they received a Pell Grant at any point in their education.
We say “up to” because if you only owe $8,000, you will generally only get $8,000 cancelled even if you are eligible for more.
Do I have to apply?
Generally yes: Most borrowers must apply to receive relief.
But some borrowers are eligible to have their loans canceled automatically because the Department of Education already has their recent income information on file. Today, October 18, 2022, the Department began notifying borrowers who are eligible for automatic cancellation that they will receive cancellation without applying. Any borrower who doesn’t want cancellation can opt out by notifying their student loan servicer by November 14, 2022.
If you haven’t received that notice, you should apply for relief. And there is no harm in submitting an application even if you receive a notice that cancellation will be applied to your account automatically.
What should I expect after I apply?
After you apply, you’ll receive an email confirmation from the Department of Education. Most borrowers will then just wait for the government to notify them that their application has been approved, and then for their loan servicer to notify them when the cancellation has been applied to their loans – this could take 4-6 weeks.
A small percentage of borrowers will be contacted by email by the Department of Education to confirm their eligibility, and will have to provide additional information or upload proof of income at studentaid.gov. Beware of scammers trying to steal your information, and look for official information and communications to come from a .gov account.
I have more questions!