Most people with federal student loans qualify for at least one forgiveness program that will wipe out some or all of their debt. The one you need to apply for depends on your employment history, how long you’ve had the loans, where you went to school, how much money you made during the pandemic, and your health.
In August, President Joe Biden finally announced his plan for mass debt cancellation. Biden will use executive action to wipe out $10 thousand for millions of Americans and $20 thousand for Pell Grant recipients. He also extended the student loan payment pause one final time until Dec. 31, 2022.
On Oct. 14, the Education Department released a beta version of the student loan forgiveness application. It released the official application a few days later. Over 26 million people have applied. But the department stopped accepting applications after a federal judge in Texas struck down Biden’s student debt relief program as an unlawful use of the HEROES Act. The Education Department has appealed Judge Mark Pittman’s decision to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, but there are now legitimate concerns that the department will be able to deliver on the promised student loan relief.
This loan forgiveness program isn’t the only path out of student debt. Since Biden moved into the White House, the federal government has eliminated over $32 billion in student loan debt owed by hundreds of thousands of borrowers. Beneficiaries include public servants, people who have disabilities, military service members, and students defrauded by for-profit schools like ITT Tech, DeVry, and the Art Institutes.
Related: When Do Student Loan Payments Restart?
So far, the loan cancellation that’s been announced has been limited to federal student loan borrowers. Those struggling with private student loans have yet to receive any debt relief. And that’s unlikely to change — even with the Biden administration’s new announcement regarding sweeping debt forgiveness.
Related: Can Private Student Loans Be Forgiven?
If you owe a debt to the U.S. Department of Education, keep reading to learn more about how to apply for student loan forgiveness, including the latest broad-based student loan debt relief.
Here are the student loan forgiveness programs and eligibility requirements that we’ll cover based on your situation:
You earned less than $125 thousand in 2020 or 2021 ($250 thousand for married couples).
You work full-time for the government or a nonprofit.
You make payments for at least 20 years.
You have a permanent disability.
Your school lied to you.
You teach in a low-income area.
Your school closed.