(NEXSTAR) – Applications for federal student loan forgiveness are officially open, President Joe Biden announced on Monday following a beta test that launched on Friday.
About 8 million borrowers have already completed the debt forgiveness process by filling out the beta application, Biden said. His administration launched it Friday afternoon, noting that the Department of Education is “accepting applications to help us improve our processes before the official launch of the form.”
If you’re among the 8 million borrowers who completed their application over the weekend, you don’t need to do anything else. Your information will be processed and, if necessary, officers will contact you for additional information.
If you haven’t signed up yet, fear not – the application is simple, fast and identical overview provided by the White House last week. You do not need a Federal Student Aid application or any documentation to apply.
Here’s the step-by-step process for applying for federal student loan forgiveness:
- First go to www.studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application
- Enter your first name, last name and, if applicable, previous last name
- You will then need to enter your social security number
- Retype your social security number
- Enter your date of birth
- Enter your phone number
- Enter your email address
- Re-enter your email address
- Review the contract (This confirms that you are the person filling out the debt write-off form, to qualifyand that you will provide additional information if necessary.)
- You will then need to re-enter your first and last name
- Then check the box stating that “under penalty of perjury under the laws of the United States of America that all information provided on this form is true.” Penalties for providing false information are listed and include “fines, imprisonment, or both.”
- Finally, press “send”
Once your application is submitted, it will be reviewed to determine if you qualify for debt relief, and the Department of Education will “work with your loan servicer(s) to process your relief.”
Application, found hereit is available in English and Spanish and on mobile and desktop devices.
It is estimated that 1 million to 5 million people will be required to provide that additional documentation, the Ministry of Education stated in a recent submission to the White House Office of Management and Budget.
It’s unclear how long it will take the Department of Education to process applications, but officials previously estimated it would take four to six weeks. Applications submitted by mid-November should be processed by January 1, and then payments continue. You will have up to end of 2023 to apply for federal debt relief, pending legal challenges the Biden administration faces over the program.
Six republics led states are suing to block the plansaying it exceeds Biden’s authority and will lead to financial losses for student loan servicers, who are hired to manage federal student loans and earn interest income.
A federal judge in St. Louis now weighs request by the states for an injunction to stop the plan. In court documents, the Department of Education promised not to complete the debt cancellation before Oct. 23.
Biden promised to continue the expansion student debt pardon as a presidential candidate, but the issue has undergone more than a year of internal review amid questions about its legality. His plan has sparked intense debate ahead of the midterm elections, with Republicans and some Democrats saying it’s unfair help for college graduates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.