Student loan forgiveness: Here’s how to apply

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden officially began the application process for his student debt forgiveness program Monday, opening the door for millions of Americans to apply for up to $20,000 in forgiveness. The Biden administration touts it as a simple, straightforward application that should only take about five minutes. Here’s how to sign up.

Go to studentaid.gov and in the student loan debt relief section, click “Apply Now.”

Be ready to type in some basic personal information. The form asks for: name, social security number, date of birth, phone number and email address. It requires no documentation of your income or your student loans.

Then review the eligibility rules and confirm you are a match. For most people, this means showing that they earn less than $125,000 a year or that their household earns less than $250,000 a year. If you meet the eligibility rules, click the box to confirm that everything you entered is true.

Click on ‘Send’.

After the form is submitted, the Biden administration says it should take four to six weeks to process. The Education Department will use the existing data to ensure that your loans are eligible and to look for applicants who may exceed income limits. Some will be asked to provide additional documentation to prove their income. The Education Department estimates that the verification application will take approximately half an hour, including time to review and upload tax documents.

Most borrowers who apply before mid-November should expect to have their debt forgiven before January 1, when federal student loan payments are due to start again after a pause during the pandemic.

Things can get more complicated depending on the outcomes of various legal challenges. The Biden administration faces a growing number of lawsuits seeking 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 a court order to stop the plan. Biden said Monday he is confident the lawsuit will not change the plan. “Our legal verdict is it won’t happen,” he said, “but they are trying to stop it.”

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The Associated Press education team is supported by New York’s Carnegie Corporation. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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