WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden on Monday officially opened the application process for his student debt relief program, opening the door for millions of Americans to apply for up to $20,000 in forgiveness. The Biden administration is touting it as a simple, straightforward application that should only take five minutes. Here’s how to apply.
Go to studentaid.gov and under the Student Loan Debt Relief section, click on “Apply Now.”
Be prepared to enter some basic personal information. The form asks for: name, social security number, date of birth, phone number and email address. It does not require documentation of your income or student loans.
Then review the eligibility rules and confirm that you agree. For most people, this means certifying that they earn less than $125,000 a year or that their household makes less than $250,000 a year. If you meet the eligibility rules, click the box confirming that everything you have provided is true.
After submitting the form, the Biden administration says it should take four to six weeks to process it. The Department of Education will use its existing records to make sure your loans are eligible and to look for applicants who may exceed the income limits. Some will be asked to provide additional documentation to prove their income. The Department of Education estimates that the verification application will take about half an hour, including time to review and upload tax documents.
Most borrowers who apply before mid-November should expect to have their debt canceled before Jan. 1, when federal student loan payments are scheduled to resume after a pause during the pandemic.
Things could get more complicated, depending on the outcomes of several legal challenges. The Biden administration is facing a growing number of lawsuits trying to block the program, including one filed by six Republican-led states. A federal judge in St. Louis is currently considering the states’ request for an injunction to stop the plan. On Monday, Biden said he was confident the lawsuit would not derail the plan. “Our legal judgment is that they won’t,” he said, “but they’re trying to stop it.”
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