Application opens for federal student loan debt forgiveness

The formal application is now posted online, following the President’s announcement this summer that student loan forgiveness would be extended.
Student loan debt relief
Student loan debt relief(DC Bureau)
Published: Oct. 17, 2022 at 3:17 PM MST
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Borrowers can now sign up for the President’s student loan forgiveness as the application has finally been released.

Find the application here.

The application had long been promised to debut in October but it didn’t go live on studentaid.gov in “beta” format until Friday afternoon. On Monday, the formal application launched. Applications are due no later than December 31, 2023. Applicants who entered their data under the “beta” launch do not have to submit a second application.

The application went live at the same time President Joe Biden completed remarks on how this program will be a game-changer for millions of Americans. Biden quoted a grandmother who told him that debt relief means the world to her, “that’s what today’s announcement is about. So let’s get started. A new student loan application is now open. If you have federal student debt, please visit studentaid.gov, it’s easy, simple and fast. And it’s a new day for millions of Americans.”

“Look, we’re making this process simple. We’re making it clear. Studentaid.gov/debt-relief is where you get the information,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “If you’re on a url and it doesn’t have studentaid.gov in it, it’s not the right one. Get off of it.”

The form does not require documents, such as tax returns. It does require borrowers to submit their names, social security numbers, date of birth, phone and email.

Student loan forgiveness is intended to benefit people making less than $125,000 and households with less than $250,000 in income. Pell grant recipients can get up to $20,000 in relief. Other borrowers could get up to $10,000. The President’s extension this summer also continued the current freeze on student loan payments through December 31, 2022.

Cardona said nearly 6 million people signed up to receive the email alerting them to apply after the President announced in August that he was extending the pandemic program.

Bridgewater College graduate Bridget Fabiani is one of the people pouncing on the President’s promise. She has been benefitting from the pandemic student loan forgiveness program since graduating at the height of the COVID-19 crisis in 2020.

“It’s honestly been more of a relief knowing that, you know, when you’re in undergrad, you know that it’s looming, like, you’re going to graduate and you’re going to have to start paying back. I know for my sister, it was always on the forefront of her mind. You need to pay them off. And so it kind of was a relief that I could work. I mean, it was always in the back of my mind. I always knew that it had to be paid. But it was nice to have that pause and to kind of get, you know, like your ducks in a row and figure out other financial situations,” she said.

Fabiani said she has been working with a financial adviser to make sure she doesn’t miss deadlines and to prepare a budget for when she needs to pay the loans back starting in January.

“Just coming up with a monthly budget to pay off the loans with or without the forgiveness, because, I mean, it is nice to know that it might be coming my way, but also trying to get ahead of it,” she said.

The President has warned that this will be the final extension on student loan forgiveness. The program has been running since 2020 but payments will start again in January 2023.

“I feel ready,” said Fabiani, “personally, I’m in a good spot and I’m thankful that, you know, I was able to budget effectively. But the amount of times it’s been extended, it kind of you know, you don’t almost trust what they’re saying. They say it’s the last time, but I thought it was the last time, a year in. I thought it was going to be only six months of a delay and then it ended up being, what, like two years?”

Cardona has warned people to be on guard against scams that seek personal information, credit cards, or coaching for a fee.

Meanwhile, legal challenges have been filed against the President’s student loan forgiveness.

Attorneys General in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and South Carolina are among those who have filed suit along with several groups who claim they are against government overreach.