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Idahoans can now apply for student loan forgiveness. Here’s how to spot a scam to avoid

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Applying for student loan forgiveness only takes a few minutes.

AP

The online application for federal student loan forgiveness is now live, meaning more than 218,000 eligible Idahoans can apply for relief.

But as Millions of borrowers are seeking debt reliefstate and federal leaders are warning them to be on the lookout for scams that could trick them into giving up their personal information through fake websites or fake government representatives.

Here’s what you need to know about the application process, how to make sure you don’t fall prey to scammers, and what student loan relief means for Idaho borrowers.

Beware of potential scams

Shortly after President Biden announced the loan forgiveness program in August, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden warned on Twitter alerts borrowers to beware of potential fraud.

“You don’t have to do anything or pay anyone to be eligible for the new Student Loan Relief Plan,” Wasden said. “No one can get you early, skip you in line or guarantee a match. Anyone who says they can charge you or tries to is a scammer.”

Wasden attached a link in a follow-up tweet to the Federal Trade Commission’s consumer advisory page, which advises people to report potential scammers. ReportFraud.ftc.gov.

The FTC is warning borrowers to be wary of companies that promise to help with student loan relief.

“There’s nothing a student loan relief company can do for you that you can’t do for yourself for free” The FTC website reads. “And some of the companies that promise relief are scams.”

The FTC has issued the following tips for borrowers:

  • Never pay an upfront fee. It is illegal for companies to charge you before they help you and not get any help or get your money back.

  • Don’t sign up for quick loan forgiveness programs. Some scammers may promise that they can get you into a debt forgiveness program or eliminate your debts by getting you into a dispute with them. According to the FTC, scammers can’t get you into a program you don’t qualify for or delete your credits.

  • Don’t trust the seal of the Department of Education. Some scammers use official seals and logos, but your best option is to contact the Department of Education directly. StudentAid.gov.

  • do not act quickly; some scammers say that if you don’t sign up right away, you may be denied a payment plan or debt consolidation. The FTC recommends that you take your time and check all the facts.

  • Do not provide your federal student aid ID. People can use your FSA ID to log into your account and steal your identity.

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A screenshot warning from the US Department of Education’s federal student loan relief application warning of scammers. US Department of Education

How to Apply for Student Loan Relief

You can find the beta program online studentaid.gov. A government website allows eligible Americans to apply for up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness.

Those with less than $125,000 as individual filers or less than $250,000 as a family qualify for $10,000 in loan forgiveness. If you received a federal need-based Pell Grant in college, the forgiveness amount is up to $20,000.

The application is available in English and Spanish and asks borrowers to provide their first and last name, social security number, date of birth and contact information.

Borrowers provide basic identification information and confirm that they are the person identified in the application, provide proof of income and confirm that they meet the income requirements.

Once completed, you will receive a confirmation email that your application has been successfully submitted. The Department of Education will review your application, determine if you qualify for relief, and work directly with your loan servicer to process it.

“If you do not hear back from the US Department of Education or your loan servicer, you do not need to take any further action,” the filing states.

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Applicants are approved when they apply for student loan relief.

The department may follow up with you if it requires additional information to process your application. If so, it will contact you by email and possibly ask for the following details:

  • Additional information documents to confirm your income.

  • If you are enrolled as a “dependent student” at any time between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022. In this case, the department will ask for additional information about your parents’ income.

  • The Department cannot match you with credit records based on the information you provide through your application.

If you are approved for forbearance, you will be notified of this event and your loan servicer will be told to process your loan forgiveness.

“Your loan servicer will notify you when your loan relief is applied and share any additional information, such as an update on your loan balance and an updated monthly payment amount (if you still have a balance),” according to the online application.

Student loan borrowers must apply by December 31, 2023.

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