It’s not too late to apply for student loan debt relief. Here’s how to do it

While we await a decision on the fate of the student loan debt forgiveness program, it is still recommended that you apply because applications are still being reviewed and prepared. The Department of Education has already approved 16 million applications and sent documents to student loan servicers. If the program can overcome the legal hurdles, those who are eligible will be able to achieve $20,000 in student loan debt relief.

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Filling out the form only takes about 2 minutes. All you need to provide is your name, social security number, date of birth, phone number and email address. The Department for Education will contact you if you need proof of income. The application process will be open until December 31, 2023.

Find out if you qualify for student debt relief and how to apply. To learn more, avoid student loan debt scams red flagsand find out which one states tax student loan forgiveness.

Read more: “Crying for the rest of my life.” Student loan debt is destroying an entire generation

Why is there a student debt relief unit?

On Oct. 22, the court hears a lawsuit by six Republican-led states to end the student loan relief program issued a temporary injunction to enforce the debt collection plan. This means that the actual cancellation of student loan debt will not begin as quickly as expected.

The states – Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina – argue that the Biden administration is exceeding its legal authority. An appeals court is expected to rule any day now on whether to grant the preliminary injunction requested by those states.

The application for student loan debt relief will remain open while the court process continues, and there is no reason to wait to apply.

Who is eligible for student loan cancellation?

Under President Joe Biden’s plan, the Department of Education will cancel up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for individual borrowers earning less than $125,000 per year or less than $250,000 for married borrowers or those who are heads of household.

You may also be eligible for an additional $10,000 in aid if you received federal Pell Grants while in college for a total of up to $20,000 in debt assistance.

The White House has assured borrowers that debt cancellation will happen sooner federal student loan payments resume on January 1, 2023.

Read more: 8 million student loan borrowers get debt relief Automatically

How do I apply for student debt relief?

Most of the approximately 40 million borrowers seeking student loan relief will need to apply for forgiveness using the Department of Education’s online form. The department said that if you apply, it will be processed and you will not need to apply again.

Please note that if the Department for Education already has information about your income, the department may have enough information to automatically forgive your debt without application. The group that will automatically qualify can number up to 8 million borrowers and mainly includes those registered with income-driven repayment plans. The Department recommends that you fill out the form anyway if you think you fall into this group, in case there isn’t enough information to automatically cancel the debt.

If the department does not have information about your income, you must fill out an application to provide the information the department needs to determine whether you qualify for debt relief.

You do not need to upload supporting documents or use your FSA ID to apply. The app is now available on desktop and mobile browsers in both English and Spanish.

Once you apply, it will be reviewed to determine your eligibility for debt relief and the department will work with your credit services to process your assistance. After submitting the form, you will receive an email notifying you that your application has been successfully received, and the department will contact you if they need any additional information, such as proof of income. You will also receive updates when your application is approved and sent to your loan servicer to process your aid.

Once your credit service approves and applies the debt forgiveness to your account, it will notify you and share any additional information needed, such as your remaining balance.

What information do I need to complete a student loan application?

The Department of Education’s application for student loan forgiveness includes two sections: The first section, labeled “Borrower Information,” contains fields you must fill out to provide the department with the information it needs to determine your eligibility.

The following personal information is required from borrowers in the application:

  • First name (including previous surname if applicable)
  • Social security number
  • Date of birth
  • Phone number
  • Email address

The second section, labeled “Review and Submit Agreement,” is an affidavit stating that you are eligible for debt relief. It asks borrowers to confirm that they are seeking loan forgiveness, that they are eligible under income requirements and that, if asked, they must provide proof of income to the Department of Education by March 31, 2024.

A hand holds a stack of dollars

You can get between $10,000 and $20,000 in student loan debt forgiveness.

James Martin/CNET

How do I access the Student Debt Forgiveness Application?

The Department of Education’s online form to apply for federal student loan debt relief is available now. Visit to apply.

What is the deadline to apply for student loan debt relief?

Eligible borrowers have until December 31, 2023 to apply for forgiveness.

At a press briefing on August 26, Bharat Ramamurthy, deputy director of the National Economic Council, said that after borrowers fill out their applications, “they can expect assistance within four to six weeks.” However, it’s unclear how the student debt cancellation delay will affect that timeline.

“Borrowers are advised to apply by around November 15 to receive assistance before the payment freeze ends on December 31,” Ramamurthy said.

To learn more about the student loan plan, go to the Department of Education’s subscription page and sign up to receive Federal Student Loan Borrower Updates, the first check box in a long list of educational topics.

If you’ve been making student loan payments during the moratorium, you can now request a refund from your credit servicer. For anyone who doesn’t qualify for student loan forgiveness — or who will still owe money after debt cancellation — payments and interest are still suspended until January 2023.

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