Biden Administration to Erase $39 Billion in Student Loan Debt: Are You Eligible?

Find out if you qualify for the Biden administration’s program to erase student loan debt. Discover eligibility criteria, how to check your payment count, and when debt cancellation will begin.

Biden Administration to Erase $39 Billion in Student Loan Debt: Tens of thousands of borrowers with federal student loans are eagerly awaiting news about the potential lightening of their debt load. The Biden administration recently announced a groundbreaking program that will erase the remaining loan balances of more than 800,000 borrowers, totaling a staggering $39 billion. This initiative aims to rectify past errors made by loan servicers, who failed to credit payments accurately or provided inadequate advice to borrowers seeking assistance.

In the upcoming days and months, eligible borrowers will discover whether they have received an account adjustment resulting in enough qualifying payments to eliminate their loans. The process will continue until the end of the year, ensuring that all borrowers without enough qualifying payments for cancellation will receive updated payment counts. Let’s delve into the details of this program and determine who qualifies for this debt relief.

  1. Who qualifies for debt cancellation?
  2. How can I find out if I got extra credit for payments?
  3. When will debt cancellation start?
  4. Where can I find my updated payment count?
  5. The potential impact on Public Service Loan Forgiveness

 

  1. Who qualifies for debt cancellation? Borrowers who hold direct loans or those made through the Federal Family Education Loan (F.F.E.L.) program and held by the Education Department may qualify for debt cancellation. This includes borrowers with Parent PLUS loans. However, debt cancellation eligibility depends on reaching a specific threshold, typically equivalent to either 20 or 25 years of qualifying months. Most borrowers will need to have been in repayment for 240 or 300 months, depending on whether they were enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan or a standard repayment plan. The number of qualifying payments varies based on the borrower’s loan type and payment plan.
  2. How can I find out if I got extra credit for payments? Borrowers’ updated payment counts will include any month spent in repayment, regardless of the loan type, repayment plan used, or whether the payments were partial or late. Borrowers will also get credit for any time they were in forbearance for 12 months or more in a row, or for any month they were in forbearance if they had been in forbearance for 36 months or more in total. Months spent in deferment before 2013 or in economic hardship or military deferment on or after January 1, 2013, will also count. These situations apply even if they occurred before consolidating the loans.
  3. When will debt cancellation start? Debt cancellation will commence immediately. The Education Department will inform borrowers if they have enough qualifying payments for cancellation, requiring no further action on their part. They will continue to notify borrowers who reach the debt elimination threshold every two months until the next year. Debt discharges will begin 30 days after the corresponding emails are sent, and the loan servicers will notify borrowers upon completion. If borrowers are currently making payments, they will be paused until the debt is eliminated. Borrowers who wish to opt out should notify their loan servicer.
  4. Where can I find my updated payment count? Unfortunately, borrowers may not be able to access this information until next year. Loan servicers are awaiting the Education Department’s update on these numbers, so contacting your servicer is unlikely to yield new information. The Education Department has assured that once they have processed all borrowers eligible for debt cancellation, they will update the payment counts of other borrowers accordingly.
  5. The potential impact on Public Service Loan Forgiveness: Any months counted towards debt cancellation can also be applied towards Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) if you can provide documentation of employment with a qualifying employer during the same period. This opens up additional opportunities for borrowers seeking relief through PSLF.

The Biden administration‘s announcement of erasing $39 billion in student loan debt has provided hope to thousands of borrowers burdened by educational loans. Eligible borrowers with direct loans or those from the F.F.E.L. program, including Parent PLUS loans, can expect potential debt relief if they have reached the required threshold of qualifying payments. By including periods of forbearance, deferment, and economic hardship, the program seeks to rectify previous errors and provide fair relief to borrowers. Stay tuned for updates on your payment count and prepare for a possible transformation in your financial situation.

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