The Biden administration has launched a beta version of its student loan forgiveness application, and borrowers can apply now. But there’s a few things you should know first.
Where To Find the Student Loan Forgiveness Application
The Education Department has launched an online application for Biden’s new student loan forgiveness plan, which can provide up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness for federal student loans administered by the government.
The application is available here via the StudentAid.gov website. Borrowers do not have to log in to the StudentAid.gov website using their FSA ID (their unique username and password. Simply fill out the online form, electronically sign it, and submit it.
The Education Department has been warning borrowers about scammers. You can apply directly through this official online application portal — you do not need to go through any third party company.
The Application Process for Student Loan Forgiveness
Borrowers simply must provide their information (name, contact details, and personal identifying information like their Social Security number and date of birth). They must also certify, under penalties of perjury, that they earned less than $125,000 in income (or less than $250,000 if they are married) in either 2020 or 2021 to qualify for student loan forgiveness under Biden’s plan. You can learn more about the eligibility rules for the one-time student loan forgiveness initiative via the Education Department’s website.
Borrowers should receive an electronic confirmation of submission for your records.
Borrowers will not have to submit supporting documentation with their applications. However, the Education Department will subsequently follow up with several million borrowers over the next year or longer to verify income information. You should be prepared to provide a copy of your tax return if you receive such a request.
What a ‘Beta Launch’ of the Student Loan Forgiveness Application Means
This is a beta launch of the student loan forgiveness application. This means that the Education Department is using this initial launch to test the process and make improvements before the application is more broadly available. It’s a real application, and the Education Department says it will be processed (and you won’t have to resubmit it), but you won’t get immediate relief.
In addition, a high volume of traffic may mean that the beta application could temporarily become unavailable. Some users were already reporting problems last night. And as of this writing, the application is indeed temporarily inaccessible.
“Thanks for visiting the Student Loan Debt Relief Application,” says a message on the application website. “We’re providing periodic access to the form to help us get ready for our official launch. We appreciate your interest in debt relief and invite you to check back soon.”
No Processing of Student Loan Forgiveness Requests Quite Yet
While the application is legitimate, no student loan forgiveness request will be immediately processed. The earliest any request will be processed and approved is October 23, according to a court filing by the administration earlier this month.
The Education Department has previously said to expect applications to be processed within a four-to-six week period after submission.
Full Application Launch is Coming Soon
If you aren’t able to access the beta application, don’t panic — you’ll have until December 31, 2023 to apply. The Education Department has not provided a firm timeline on broader application availability, but it should happen sometime later this month.
Of course, there are several lawsuits seeking to block the initiative. Depending on the outcome of preliminary hearings in these suits, the program could be delayed or blocked. A hearing earlier this week may be an early test, and the court may issue a decision on a preliminary injunction as early as this week.