Here’s how to qualify for $17 billion of student loan forgiveness.
Here’s what you need to know — and what it means for your student loans.
President Joe Biden is considering wide-scale student loan cancellation, but there could be limitations on who qualifies for student loan relief, how much student loan forgiveness there will be, and whether the president has the legal authority to cancel student loans. The good news is you don’t have to wait for any wide-scale student loan relief. Biden has canceled more than $17 billion of student loans since becoming president. These programs are still active and available to you now to get student loan relief. Plus, it’s particularly helpful if you want a fresh start on your student loans. Here are 4 ways to get $17 billion of student loan forgiveness.
1. Student loan forgiveness through public service loan forgiveness
Biden has canceled $6.8 billion of student loans for 113,000 student loan borrowers through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. Congress created this program in 2007 to help student loan borrowers get full federal student loan forgiveness. To qualify:
- work full-time for a qualified public service or non-profit employer
- enroll in an income-driven repayment plan and make a majority of your federal student loan payments while enrolled in this plan; and
- make 120 monthly student loan payments.
You should also complete an Employment Certification Form annually and whenever you change jobs.
2. Student loan cancellation for total and permanent disability
Biden has canceled $7.8 billion for more than 400,000 student loan borrowers who have a total and permanent disability. There are three ways to qualify for a total and permanent disability discharge to get student loan forgiveness:
- Veterans: you have a service-connected disability that is 100% disabling or you are disabled based on an individual unemployability rating.
- Social Security Disability: you receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
- Doctor’s certification: A medical doctor can certify that you can’t engage in any “substantial gainful activity” due to a medically determinable physical or mental impairment.
Submit an application and any supporting documentation of your total and permanent disability.
3. Student loan relief through borrower defense to repayment
Biden has canceled $2.1 billion for 132,000 student loan borrowers through borrower defense to repayment. This federal program helps you get student loan forgiveness if:
- your college or university closes while you’re enrolled or shortly after you withdraw, or
- if your college or university misled you.
With borrower defense to repayment, you could get partial student loan forgiveness or total student loan forgiveness. You can apply for borrower defense to student loan repayment online.
4. Get your student loans canceled through income-driven repayment
Income-driven repayment plans such as IBR, PAYE, REPAYE and ICR are particularly helpful for student loan borrowers who are struggling financially. (Student loan forgiveness: 5 key takeaways from major announcement). Income-driven repayment can lower your student loan payment and get your federal student loans canceled. Contact your student loan servicer to enroll. Here’s a snapshot:
- Your monthly federal student loan payment will be based on your discretionary income and family size;
- It’s possible to pay as low as $0 a month in federal student loan payments;
- After 20 years (undergraduate student loans) or 25 years (graduate student loans) of student loan payments, you can get automatic student loan cancellation of your remaining student loan balance.
Student loans: next steps
Student loan cancellation may seem inaccessible, but there are many opportunities to get student loan forgiveness. This is particularly relevant if Biden doesn’t cancel everyone’s student loans or even most student loan debt. Importantly, temporary student loan relief from the Covid-19 pandemic is scheduled to end on August 31, 2022. Evaluate all your options for student loan repayment now before student loan payments restart. Here are great ways to pay off student loans faster and save money: