A Major Student Debt Deadline Is Weeks Away. Here's How To Apply For Cancellation
The Biden admin released the information borrowers will need to have on hand to apply for student debt forgiveness — all while a major student debt deadline is fast approaching.
The White House finally released details on what you need to apply for student loan forgiveness, but the timing is close for those hoping to take advantage of PLSF waivers.
Earlier this week, the Biden Administration released much-anticipated information on how exactly the application process for student loan forgiveness will work. In a series of tweets, a White House representative announced that the application for forgiveness will be simple and no supporting documentation will be necessary. The application will be available on desktop and mobile browsers, with both English and Spanish versions.
What Will I Need To Fill Out My Student Loan Forgiveness Application?
- First name, middle initial and last name
- Former name, if applicable
- Social security number
- Date of birth
- Phone number
After entering all of that information, you have to review and submit your agreement, including:
- confirming that you are requesting federal student loan debt relief,
- that you will provide proof of your income to the U.S. Department of Education if requested, and that if you “fail to do so by March 31, 2024 or if” your “income does not qualify for federal student loan debt relief, the relief will not be processed.”
- You also agree to verify that you are the individual applying for the debt.
- The final review portion reminds you to confirm that you actually qualify for the debt as of conditions met between January 1st — December 31st, 2021. (Those include income requirements, largely)
- Then you sign your name, middle initial, and last name again
- And certify under penalty of law that you have provided all of the correct information
What they didn’t announce, however, is when the application will actually be live.
And all of this comes as another important deadline to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver is just weeks away.
What Is The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Waiver, Why Does It Matter?
The much-beleaguered Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, a program touted as a way for public servants and some non-profit workers to off-load their student loan debt, has had a bumpy road since its inception. Under the program’s rules, borrowers would be eligible for loan forgiveness after 120 loan payments made on Federal Direct loans through an income-driven repayment plan and spending a certain amount of time working in the public sector.
Due to administrative issues, the program did not work as intended for many (if not most) borrowers. Last year, the Biden Administration released a Limited PSLF waiver program to help hundreds of thousands of borrowers. It was designed to retroactively apply any payments made on Federal loans to the PSLF qualifying period, meaning that millions of dollars in previously disqualified payments now count toward loan forgiveness.
PSLF borrowers are also eligible for Biden’s $10,000 to $20,000 loan forgiveness package, but to make the most of it, they should apply for the PSLF waiver before the October 31 deadline.
“Their balance will be written down by up to $10,000 — $20,000... This is especially important for borrowers with higher balances, for whom [debt forgiveness] will not result in complete cancellation,” Student Borrower Protection Center Deputy Director of Advocacy & Policy Counsel Winston Berkman-Breen previously told Fatherly.
In other words, applying for the PSLF waiver now will knock tons of money off their debt — alongside the $10,000 to $20,000 in forgiveness they could receive from Biden in overall debt cancelation.
“For this reason, it is extremely important that PSLF-eligible borrowers take steps to access the PSLF Waiver before the October 31 deadline,” Berkman-Breen said.
The Biden Department of Education is working to make some aspects of the PSLF waiver permanent in July of 2023, but that wouldn’t take effect for some time — potentially leaving months in the wings where borrowers trying to cut their debt would be negatively impacted by the lapse.
Despite a huge push from borrowers, lawmakers and advocates to extend the waiver deadline — stating that millions of eligible borrowers have not yet applied for the waiver and that allowing it to lapse could confuse borrowers in the future — it appears that the Biden Administration will stick to the October 31st deadline for the temporary waiver. If you qualify, you should apply ASAP. The Biden admin’s student loan application is expected to launch sometime in October, as well.
To ensure you don’t miss any important deadlines, visit the PSLF Help Tool at StudentAid.gov and the Education Department website, where you can sign up for notifications regarding the availability of the loan forgiveness application.