Presidentclearing up to $20,000 in student loans will require millions of borrowers to complete an application to receive approval, a step that will likely be available within weeks.
The app is expected to open in early October, according to White House officials. Until then, borrowers can take a few steps to ensure they are ready to fill out the form when it goes live.
Since only certain types of debt are covered by the plan – and some borrowers will be able to leverage higher forgiveness limits than others – borrowers should make sure they understand their loans and what they are eligible for before fill out an application, experts say. Even if you have everything ready to apply, there may be technical issues as millions of borrowers are likely to flood the site when the application goes live, noted Melissa Byrne, executive director of WeThe45Million, a group activist borrowers who lobbied for debt relief. .
“I’m convinced the Biden administration is 100% on it, to provide relief, but it’s a very big system,” Byrne noted. “Everyone wants their relief right now.”
Here are 5 steps you can take right now to prepare for the application.
Subscribe to an application alert
First, sign up to receive an alert from the Department of Education that will let you know when the app goes live. This can be done at Ministry of Education subscription page. Check the first box, which is titled “NEW!! Federal Student Loan Borrower Updates”.
Remember to monitor your email and spam filters for updates from the Department of Education, Byrne noted. “Be chained to your inbox in case you receive a communication,” she added.
Check if you are a Pell Grant recipient
People who have received Pell Grants to fund their education can receive up to $20,000 in debt relief, which is double the $10,000 in forgiveness available to everyone else.
Pell grants are given to low-income students, but Byrne noted that some borrowers may not know if they’ve received one, especially if their parents have completed the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, for them. FAFSA is the financial aid application required to receive loans, financial aid, and grants.
“There are a lot of people who don’t even know it because maybe their parents manipulated it and they were 17 or 18,” she noted.
To check, go to StudentAid.gov and sign in to your Federal Student Aid account. On your dashboard, find “My Help” and then the grants and loans section, which will provide the data.
Find out if your loans are covered
The Biden administration’s plan covers loans held by the federal government, which means you need to verify that your loans are eligible. Private student debt will not be part of the forgiveness.
But parent loans, called Parent PLUS loans, as well as graduate student loans (as long as they are federal loans) will qualify.
Collect revenue data
The program is limited to people who have earned less than $125,000 or married couples with incomes under $250,000.
The program will use adjusted gross income, or AGI, which is a number that reflects your gross income minus certain adjustments like student loan interest, according to the IRS. You can find this figure on your tax return (Form 1040) on line 11.
Check your AGI for 2020 and 2021, as the Biden administration has said it will consider either year.
“Everyone should figure out what their AGI is for those years – even if it’s a penny below $125,000 for individuals or a penny below $250,000 for married couples, you’ll qualify,” noted Byrne.
Mark November 15 on your calendar
The Department of Education is warning borrowers to apply by November 15 to get debt relief before the student loan payment break ends on December 31.
If you don’t apply by then, all is not lost: The deadline to apply for loan forgiveness is December 31, 2023, and the Education Department notes that it will continue to process applications as and as they are received, even after repayments resume in January. .
But if you want to make sure your payments reflect the loan relief from January, apply by November 15.