After decades of students and advocacy groups calling for debt relief from student loans, President Biden recently made a long-anticipated announcement to cancel up to $20,000 in student loan debt for millions of Americans.
The Biden-Harris Administration and the U.S. Department of Education announced a three-part plan to assist working- and middle-class federal student loan borrows transition back to repayment plans as support through the pandemic is set to wrap up.
According to studentaid.gov, the moratorium on student loan repayment has been extended for a final time until December 31, 2022, payments will resume in January 2023.
Student loan borrowers may be eligible for some forgiveness up to $10,000 if they didn’t receive a Pell Grant and $20,000 if they did. The relief is limited to those who make less than $125,000 per year or married couples or heads of household earning less than $250,000.
The White House Factsheet provides details for borrowers to learn how to apply for student loan forgiveness.
Federal student loan borrowers can “get credit for payments that previously didn’t qualify for Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) or Temporary Expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (TEPSLF).”
The announcement has informed current and future borrowers of the following changes:
- Monthly payments will be cut in half for undergraduate loans.
- The “broken” Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program will be fixed by proposing a rule that borrowers who have worked at a nonprofit, in the military, or in federal, state, tribal or local government, receive appropriate credit toward loan forgiveness.
- Protect future students and taxpayers by reducing the cost of college and holding schools accountable when they hike up prices.
Under the PSLF waiver, borrowers can get credit for past payments even if they didn’t make payments on time, didn’t pay the full amount due, or weren’t on the right repayment plan.
In 2021, CollegeBoard.org released a study on the trends in college pricing and student aid. The study found that since 1980, the total cost of four-year public and private college has tripled, even after accounting for inflation.
Whereas Pell Grants used to cover nearly 80 percent of the cost of a degree at a public college, now the assistance lulls at only a third of the amount.
Following the PSLF application, the Department of Education has proposed “allowing more payments to qualify for PSLF including partial, lump sum and late payments, and allowing certain kinds of deferments and forbearances, such as those for Peace Corps and AmeriCorps service, National Guard duty, and military service to count toward PSLF.”
A report by the Institute for College Access and Success found that Michigan ranks #11 in the country of highest student loan debt at an average of $31,289 being owed. An estimated 58 percent of 2017 graduates owe money on student loans.
The U.S. Department of Education is planning to hold colleges accountable if they continue to contribute to the debt crisis. An annual watch list will be published of programs with the worst debt every academic year for students to be aware before registering for classes.
The deadline to apply for PSLF before the temporary changes end is October 31, 2022.
To get started, you must work for a qualified employer to get PSLF credit, the waiver hasn’t changed this requirement. You will need your most recent W-2 or your employer’s Federal Employer Identification Number to get started.
Other items to keep in mind, the borrower must have a Direct Loan, if you don’t then you have until the Oct. 31 deadline to consolidate your loan.
Once you verify, log into your studentaid.gov account to use the PSLF Help Tool.
For more information on eligibility, visit whitehouse.gov/publicserviceloanforgiveness