CNN – President Joe Biden on Monday announced the official launch of federal applications for Americans seeking student loan forgiveness, the latest part of his plan expected to ease debt for as many as 43 million borrowers.
“Today I’m announcing that millions of working and middle-class people can apply for this relief. And it’s simple and it’s now. It’s easy,” Biden said in a statement from the White House alongside Education Secretary Miguel Cardon. “This was a game changer for millions of Americans… and it took an incredible amount of effort to complete this website in such a short amount of time.”
Individuals who wish to apply for student debt relief can now fill out a form in English or Spanish at studentaid.gov. The form includes information about debt relief, who qualifies for it, and how it works. Applicants are asked for information including their full name, social security number, date of birth, phone number and email address. A beta version of the website launched Friday night and Biden said more than 8 million Americans used the website over the weekend to fill out their applications.
In August, Biden announced his decision to cancel up to $10,000 in student loan debt for individuals making less than $125,000 a year or as much as $20,000 for qualified borrowers who are also Pell Grant recipients.
Borrowers must have government-owned student loans to qualify. In addition to federal direct loans used to pay for undergraduate education, federal PLUS loans borrowed by graduate students and parents may also qualify if the borrower meets income requirements.
Individuals who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021 and married couples or heads of households who earned less than $250,000 a year in those years are eligible to have up to $10,000 of their federal student loan debt forgiven. Income thresholds are based on adjusted gross income.
The official launch of the app marks the next phase of a massive tech effort for federal agencies and student loan servicers to provide broad assistance to tens of millions of borrowers.
“As millions of people fill out the application, we’ll make sure the system continues to run as smoothly as possible so we can deliver student loan relief to millions of Americans as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Biden added.
Borrowers whose federal student loans are guaranteed by the government but held by private lenders, many of which were made under the former Federal Family Education Loan Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program, are currently excluded — unless the borrower applies to consolidate those loans in direct loans until September 29.
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