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The much-anticipated student loan forgiveness program announced by President Joe Biden in August includes up to $20,000 in federal student loan forgiveness for tens of millions of borrowers. The proposal for a new income-driven repayment strategy and an extension of the student loan payment suspension are also included in the plan.
However, a flurry of legal issues have made the program’s rollout more challenging. The government is currently appealing court decisions that halted the president’s plan, so applications are on hold and forgiveness cannot be granted.
Below are answers to your queries regarding eligibility, taxes, and the actual processing of forgiveness.
When your request for relief is approved, you’ll receive an email saying so from the department. You’ll then hear from your loan servicer when the forgiveness has been applied to your account. Make sure your servicer, as well as the
Department, has the most recent contact information for you.
Who qualifies for student loan forgiveness?
You must have federal student loans and make less than $125,000 (or $250,000 per household) annually to be eligible for forgiveness. Borrowers who fit that description may be eligible for a $10,000 debt cancellation.
You may be eligible to receive up to $20,000 in forgiveness if you were also awarded a Pell Grant during your education.
The Forbes Advisor student loan forgiveness calculator can help you determine your eligibility if you’re unsure.
What types of student loans qualify?
Almost all federal student loan types, including direct subsidized or unsubsidized loans, graduate loans, and parent PLUS loans, are eligible for forgiveness. Your loans are eligible for this forgiveness opportunity if they were eligible for the federal student loan payment suspension.
Forgiveness is not available for the majority of Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) and Perkins Loans that are not held by the Federal Government. Before September 1, borrowers with this type of debt who applied for a direct consolidation loan 29, 2022 should be qualified, but at this time, no other borrowers in this category are eligible for forgiveness.
Private student loans are also ineligible for forgiveness.
Check Out: Best Student Loan Refinance Lenders
How do I know if I got a Pell Grant?
Log into your account on the Federal Student Aid website to find out if you were awarded a Pell Grant. To view the loans and grants you have received as well as the current status of your accounts, go to the “Aid Summary” page. Any Pell Grants you have will appear in this section.
What if I only received a partial Pell Grant or only had a Pell Grant for one year?
No matter the quantity or regularity of your Pell Grants, you are still eligible for a forgiveness of up to $20,000.
What if my student loans are in default?
If your loans are in default, you can still qualify for forgiveness. And thanks to the Department of Education’s Fresh Start program, borrowers have the opportunity to return any remaining defaulted federal loans to good standing. Loans that are eligible for Fresh Start include direct loans, Federal Family Education loans (FFEL) and Perkins loans that are held by the Department of Education.
Are parent loans or graduate-level loans eligible?
Yes, you can be eligible for forgiveness if you have parent PLUS loans or graduate PLUS loans.
Are FFEL loans eligible?
Maybe. You may be eligible for forgiveness if your Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) qualified for the student loan payment suspension that has been in place since March 2020.
If you applied to consolidate your FFEL loans into a direct consolidation loan before September 1, even if they weren’t qualified for the payment suspension, you might still be eligible for forgiveness. 29, 2022.
Private lenders currently hold about half of FFEL loans. Borrowers with these loans are currently not eligible for forgiveness.
Am I eligible if I never graduated or am still in school?
Yes, as long as your loans were disbursed by June 30, 2022, you can still qualify if you never obtained your degree or are still in school.
What if I used student loans for something other than a bachelor’s degree?
You are still eligible for loan forgiveness even if you used federal student loans to pay for community college, a trade school, a professional degree, or another alternative certification.
How much debt will be forgiven?
Whether or not the borrower received a Pell Grant determines the amount of debt cancellation; those who did will receive up to $20,000 in debt cancellation. Other borrowers will be given $10,000 in debt cancellation if they meet the income requirements.
Your relief is limited to the amount of your outstanding debt if your student loan balance is less than what you qualify for. For instance, if you are qualified for $10,000 in relief but owe $8,000, you will be granted $8,000 in relief.
Do I have to apply for forgiveness?
Probably. The Department of Education already has information on the income of nearly 8 million borrowers, so they might automatically have their debt forgiven. Everyone else will have to fill out a straightforward online application that became available in October in order to submit their information.
Please be aware that the forgiveness program is currently suspended while numerous legal challenges are being addressed. While it appeals the court’s ruling, the Department of Education has temporarily stopped accepting applications for forgiveness.
When will loan forgiveness be processed?
Due to the Department of Education already having their pertinent income information on file, approximately 8 million borrowers will automatically receive their debt cancellation. Others will have to submit the simple online application. Borrowers can anticipate seeing their debt cancelled four to six weeks after submitting their application.
How will I know when my loans are forgiven?
When your application is accepted, the Department of Education will let you know, and your loan servicer will keep you informed when your loans are forgiven. Watch for any emails or letters from your servicer, and check your loan balance online frequently.
What if I owe more than is forgiven?
Borrowers will start making payments again in 2023 if their loan balances are higher than the amount forgiven. Your payments will be recalculated in accordance with your new lower balance, which may result in a decrease in your monthly payment. Your new monthly payment amount will be disclosed to you by your loan servicer.
Will my monthly payments be adjusted after some of my debt is erased?
Following the processing of the forgiveness, loan servicers will recalculate the amount of each monthly payment. Checking the website of their loan servicer and reading any emails or letters they receive from the lender is the best way for borrowers to stay informed about this information.
Will this kind of debt forgiveness happen again?
There are no signs that there will be another round of widespread student loan debt forgiveness in the future. Students who were taken advantage of by predatory institutions like ITT Tech may still be eligible for debt forgiveness from the Department of Education. But for the time being, it seems improbable that such widespread pardon will ever happen again.
Is Biden allowed to forgive student loans? Will forgiveness really happen?
The legality of Biden’s cancellation of federal student loans is being questioned more and more. Forgiveness is prohibited until the plan’s current legal issues are resolved because it is currently facing numerous legal issues. While it appeals the court’s ruling, the Department of Education has temporarily stopped accepting applications for forgiveness.
Are student loan payments still paused?
The final extension of the federal student loan forbearance (pause) period is through June 30, 2023. In order to safeguard borrowers while the legal issues pertaining to forgiveness are settled, an extension was granted. After forgiveness is permitted to proceed or the matter is otherwise resolved in court, payments will resume 60 days later. Payments will start 60 days after June 30 if a resolution is not reached by that date.
Check Out: Student Loan Forgiveness Calculator
What tax year is the income cap based on?
Those whose adjusted gross income (AGI) from either the 2020 or 2021 tax year was under $125,000 are eligible for student loan debt relief. If their AGI is under $250,000, married couples filing jointly and anyone filing as the head of household are eligible.
Do I have to pay tax on the forgiven amount?
Student loans that have been forgiven are not subject to taxes under the Biden administration’s relief program. The 2021 American Rescue Plan Act (Biden’s Covid-19 relief bill) included a clause that delayed taxation of student loan forgiveness until 2025.
What about state taxes?
In some states, you may be required to pay state income tax on canceled student loan debt. According to an analysis from the nonprofit Tax Foundation, 13 states—Arkansas, Hawaii, Idaho, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Wisconsin—have the potential to tax forgiven student debt. To find out how the Biden administration’s student loan relief may affect your state tax bill, check with your state’s department of revenue or speak with a tax professional.
Will I receive a tax form for forgiveness?
Although debt forgiveness typically must be reported on an IRS Form 1099-C, “Cancellation of Debt,” the IRS has directed student loan providers to refrain from filing the form for any borrower who qualifies for the Biden tax exemption.
Will forgiveness affect my student loan interest deduction?
No. In response to the pandemic, the Department of Education lowered the interest rate on federal student loans over the past few years to 0%. So, there’s been no federal student loan interest to deduct. Even if some of your debt is forgiven, you can still deduct interest once you start making payments on your federal loans.
New Income-Driven Repayment Plan
Monthly payments under the proposed income-driven repayment plan are limited to 5% of your discretionary income. If you make your monthly payments, the Department of Education will pay any unpaid interest, preventing interest from accruing and keeping your loan balance from rising.
Any outstanding balance, if any, on a loan of $12,000 or less may be forgiven following ten years of timely payments.
What counts as discretionary income?
Discretionary income is the amount you have left after paying for essentials like housing and food costs. In the context of federal student loans, discretionary income is the difference between your annual income and 150% of the poverty guideline for your family size and location.
However, by increasing the amount of income that is protected from repayment, the new repayment plan calculates discretionary income more favorably. This will ensure that no borrower will be required to make payments if their annual income is less than 225% of the federal poverty level, or $30,578 in 2022.
Who is eligible for this plan?
The prerequisites for this repayment plan’s eligibility have not yet been disclosed.
Existing income-driven repayment plans have different eligibility requirements for enrollment; some have income requirements, while others let anyone with a federal student loan sign up.
When can I enroll in this plan?
Although the exact date is unknown, this plan almost certainly won’t go into effect until at least 2023. Before borrowers can enroll, this plan must still pass through a number of administrative hoops as it is only a proposal at this time.
Are there other income-driven plans I can enroll in if I can’t afford my loans?
The five income-driven repayment plans for federal student loans are available to borrowers. Although the specifics differ by plan, you can anticipate that payments will be limited to 10% to 20% of your discretionary income. Any balance that remains after 20 or 25 years of payments may be forgiven. Not all federal loan programs accept all loan types.
If you’re not sure which repayment option is best for you, use Federal Student Aid’s Loan Simulator tool to see how different plans will affect your loans.
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How do I know if my student loans were forgiven?
When my loans are forgiven, how will I know? The Department of Education will let me know when my application is accepted, and my loan servicer will let me know when my loans are forgiven.
How do I know if I get Navient student loan forgiveness?
If you borrowed private student loans from Navient before 2010 that are currently in default, you might be qualified. In addition, Navient will make an average payment of $260 to 350,000 borrowers who were directed into forbearance for federal loans.
Do student loans go away after 7 years?
The student loans themselves will remain on your credit reports — and in your life — until you pay them off, even though negative information about your student loans may disappear from them after seven years.
Is student loan forgiveness automatic?
Who qualifies for automatic student loan forgiveness. The information required to forgive the debt of about 8 million borrowers of federal student loans is already available to the Education Department. Adjusted gross income, or AGI, for either 2020 or 2021 is the primary prerequisite for forgiveness.