Student Loan Forgiveness: Frequently Asked Questions

Are you confused about what’s happening with student loan forgiveness? Join the club!

On Aug. 24, 2022, the Biden-Harris Administration announced a Student Debt Relief Plan that includes one-time student debt relief for millions of borrowers. Since then, there’s been a lot of confusion about details of the program.

Let’s break down the most frequently asked questions we’re hearing:

What’s a student loan servicer? Who the heck is mine?

Your student loan servicer is the company collecting the payment on your student loan. It’s even possible you have more than one depending on how many loans you have.

If you don’t know who your student loan servicers are, don’t worry- most people have no idea. It’s a good idea to check because almost half of all borrowers have had their servicers change since March 2020.

If you don’t know who holds your loans, you can find out by logging into the FSA site.

If you don’t have a login to FSA you can create one.

How much relief will I get from the government?

Anyone who is eligible will receive $10k in tax-free student loan forgiveness. Some states may tax this forgiveness amount and you can learn more about that here.

If you received a Pell Grant when you went to school, you’ll be eligible for up to $20k in student loan forgiveness.

How do I know if I received a Pell Grant?

You can log in to StudentAid.gov to see if you received a Pell grant.

Do I have to do anything to claim my student loan forgiveness?

If you’re eligible for forgiveness, you’ll have to submit an application to the Department of Education in order to claim it. You won’t need your FSA credentials or proof of income to submit the application.

According to the Department of Education, in order to get your forgiveness by the time the student loan forbearance period ends, you’ll need to submit this form by November 15th, 2022.

When does the forgiveness form come out?

The Department of Education said they expect to make the form available be available some time in October 2022. However, keep in mind it takes a lot of work to modify the existing system to forgive $300 billion in student loans. Since the announcement, the Department of Education has only had six weeks to prepare.

Could forgiveness get delayed?

We can’t see the future, but we do know that as of this post, there are two lawsuits that could delay the forgiveness application if the judge grants a temporary restraining order. This would delay the application by 14 days and possibly more.

How do I know if I am eligible?

Your eligibility depends on your previous income, marital status, and whether or not you have federal student loans.

What info do I need to submit the student loan forgiveness application form?

If you know you’re eligible for forgiveness, you’ll need to have the following information ready:

  • Tax filing status
  • Annual Income from 2020 or 2021
  • Address, City, State, Zip
  • Telephone
  • SSN

While it’s unclear whether a tax return or paystub will be needed to prove your income, it’s helpful to have that ready in case you need it.

Will applying for an Income-Driven Repayment plan make me ineligible for forgiveness?

No, not at all. Borrowers who qualify for IDR plans should still apply, as it will not affect their eligibility for forgiveness. Borrowers currently on IDR plans, as well as other federal repayment plans like PSLF, are likely eligible for forgiveness, too.

I already paid off my student loans, but I qualify for forgiveness. Will I get a refund?

Yes, you’ll get a refund!

Refunds will be processed automatically for borrowers after the cancellation is processed on their servicer account. Here’s what it will look like:

  • The effective date used to determine the “eligible balance” is March 13, 2020
  • If the eligible amount exceeds your balance today and you’ve made payments since March 2020, you’ll automatically receive a check from the Treasury refunding those payments up to the eligible amount

In other words, if a borrower’s balance was $10k March 2020, is $8k today and they are eligible for $10k in forgiveness, they will get a 2k check in the mail or to their bank acct.

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