by CHRIS BROWN
“An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin
Do you or someone you care about have student loan debt? (The answer is probably “yes.”) That means you’re equally “probably” interested in student loan debt relief.
The good news is that relief is on the way; the bad news is that there was a little bit of a delay, and the final version of the application is not yet live. Initially, the Biden administration was planning to have the applications open by “early October,” but as we approach the ides of October, it’s pretty clear that the application is not fully yet ready. However, a “beta testing” version of the application is now live. You may experience times of the website being down until it “fully launches,” but all applications submitted on the beta version will be accepted. While we all wait for the full version, let’s go over what’s coming:
Who is eligible?
Borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or couples earning less than $250,000, can qualify to have up to $10,000 in federal student loans canceled.
Borrowers who received a Pell Grant to attend college, because they were lower income at the time of attendance, qualify for up to $20,000 in debt relief.
How to Apply?
The application website just opened in “beta testing mode” on Friday night (October 14)
Web-traffic to the site is anticipated to be very high, and there may be some initial issues (from the Student Aid website):
“The application will be available on and off during this time. If you try and it’s not available, try again later or wait until the application is available to all borrowers. Don’t worry if you don’t get a chance to apply right now. There’s no advantage to applying before the full launch.”
It will require only basic information, including name, birth date, Social Security number, phone number and an e-mail address
It will NOT require an FSA ID to log into the application, NOT require any uploaded documents, including tax records
Instead, the application simply asks borrowers to check a box to "certify under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that all of the information provided on this form is true and correct."
It is expected to take about 5 minutes to complete
The process to apply will close December 31, 2023 – to be clear, that’s in 14 months from now, not at the end of this year.
As mentioned, the site and application are now live in BETA MODE, so it may still change a little, but…
Here is where you can currently apply: https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application
The best and most reliable place to find information is the official U.S. Government’s Student Aid website: https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/debt-relief-info
Why it’s good for America (and good to talk about on the campaign trail):
The Department of Education estimates that, among borrowers who are no longer in school, nearly 90% of relief dollars will go to those earning less than $75,000 a year.
About 43 million borrowers will benefit, and 20 million will have their debt completely canceled, according to a senior administration official.
The White House said more than 60% of current federal student loan borrowers also received Pell Grants.
The bottom line: most of the relief is going to help the people who need it the most, and it’s going to a lot of Americans!