The wait may soon be over for the millions of student loan borrowers eagerly anticipating the rollout of applications for student loan forgiveness.
Under the program announced by President Joe Biden in late August, those making less than $125,000, or households with less than $250,000 in income, can receive up to $10,000 in loans wiped away. Recipients of Pell Grants, who typically demonstrate more financial need, will get an additional $10,000 in debt forgiven.
As expected, the forgiveness plan has encountered legal challenges, including a lawsuit filed by six Republican-led states who allege the Biden administration overstepped its executive powers.
The administration has long said it was confident the forgiveness program would survive court challenges.
As borrowers prepare to begin the application process, here’s what to expect, along with key dates to be aware of.
The Biden administration has said applications will be available by early October, meaning they could be rolled out any day now. As of Monday, Oct. 3, a specific date for when the application window will open hasn’t been provided.
The overall application process for loan forgiveness is expected to take four to six weeks. Most borrowers will likely see relief in six weeks, according to the US Department of Education. Approximately eight million borrowers won’t need to apply, as the Department of Education already has their income data on file. Those whose data the department doesn’t have will need to fill out an application.
The Department of Education is offering a subscription page where you can sign up to be notified when the application is open.
Applications will be accepted until the end of the year, but borrowers are advised to complete theirs well before then.
In order to receive relief before the student loan payment pause ends on Dec. 31, borrowers are encouraged to apply by Nov. 15, according to the Federal Student Aid website.
Dec. 31 marks the final day for a pause on student loan payments that began more than two years ago as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic challenges. In late August, President Joe Biden announced the pause on student loan repayment, interest and collections, which initially started under former President Donald Trump, would be extended for a final time – through Dec. 31.
Once the payment pause ends, borrowers will receive their billing statement or other notice at least 21 days before a payment is due, according to the Federal Student Aid website.
Payments are slated to resume on Jan. 1.
In addition to being the last day of the payment pause, Dec. 31 is also the final day for student loan forgiveness applications to be submitted. The Department of Education says it will still process applications as they are received, even after the pause expires.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism