Want student loan forgiveness? Here is a roadmap
Student loan cancellation continues to dominate the news in 2022. The Biden administration has, thus far, refused to implement widespread student debt cancellation. Instead, the administration opted for “targeted” student loan forgiveness, improving and expanding several existing programs.
Here’s where the current student loan forgiveness programs stand and how to start the process of applying for relief.
Student Loan Forgiveness for Public Service Borrowers
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) provides federal student loan forgiveness to borrowers who have dedicated their careers to working for nonprofit or public organizations. Under the program’s original rules, the PSLF had strict eligibility criteria, limiting relief to borrowers with direct federal student loans in repayment under income-tested repayment plans.
But under the new limited PSLF waiver program announced in October, the Biden administration is relaxing key program requirements and expanding the types of eligible loans and payments. For a limited time, payments made on federal FFEL program loans and federal Perkins loans may qualify for the PSLF. And payments made under any repayment plan, including payments made before direct loan consolidation, may also qualify. Borrowers may need to take action by October 31, 2022 by consolidating non-direct federal student loans into a direct consolidation loan and certifying past and present government employment. Learn more about the PSLF Limited Waiver Program here.
Other occupation-based federal student loan relief programs continue to exist, although they remain unchanged. Check Teacher loan forgiveness program and the Perkins loan forgiveness program, both distinct from the PSLF.
Student Loan Forgiveness for Disabled Borrowers
The Total and Permanent Disability Release (TPD) program forgives federal student loan debt for borrowers who are unable to maintain substantial gainful employment due to a medical condition.
Under recent changes announced by the Biden administration, borrowers who received Social Security disability benefits can have their loans automatically canceled under the TPD release program. In addition, the administration indefinitely suspended post-release income monitoring, which was required under federal rules for three years after a TPD approval of a release. Earning too much money from a job or failing to complete the income survey has resulted in discharge cancellations for thousands of borrowers. The Department of Education is also in the process of amending the TPD discharge regulations to permanently eliminate income monitoring.
Borrowers who are disabled but not receiving Social Security disability benefits may still qualify if they have certification from the Veterans Administration that they are totally disabled due to a heart-related injury. military service, or if their doctor certifies that they meet the TPD standard. Learn more here.
Student loan forgiveness for borrowers defrauded by their school
The Borrower Defense Until Repayment program can forgive federal student loan debt for borrowers who have been defrauded by their school due to misrepresentation or false promises. The Biden administration recently relaxed previous rules that allowed the Department of Education to grant little or no relief, even for approved applications. Still, the program remains troubled and mired in bureaucratic and legal disputes as the ministry seeks to overhaul the regulations governing the borrower defense program. In the meantime, borrowers can learn more about defending borrowers here.
There are other federal student loan release programs available to borrowers harmed by their school. the School outing closed The program can allow borrowers to have their federal student loans forgiven if they were unable to complete their degree or certificate program due to school closures. the Fake Certification Waiver The program may also provide for student loan forgiveness in limited circumstances where a school official has falsely certified a borrower’s eligibility status or ability to benefit from their educational program.
Will Biden embrace broad student loan cancellation?
Over the past 12 months, student loan activists, advocacy groups and progressives in Congress have urged President Biden to use executive action to forgive more than $50,000 in student loan debt for every borrower. Legal experts allied with these groups have argued that federal law gives the president broad statutory power to unilaterally write off federal student loan debt. But other legal experts disagree with this conclusion.
Biden campaigned to forgive $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers, but he has since expressed skepticism that he has the legal authority to act without direct authorization from Congress, and he s is adamantly opposed to $50,000 student loan forgiveness. Meanwhile, the Department of Education and Department of Justice have reportedly produced official memos outlining Biden’s potential legal authority (or lack thereof), but the full details of those memos have yet to be made public. . The administration hasn’t officially closed the door on broad student debt cancellation, but a decision doesn’t seem imminent either at this time.
How to proceed?
The above student loan forgiveness programs are limited to federal student loans only. And many of these programs have additional strict eligibility criteria. To get started, you can view your federal student loan records through the Department of Education web portal at StudentAid.gov. You can also view the Department’s information on student loan forgiveness programs and associated application procedures, here.
Further Reading on Student Loans
Student Loan Forgiveness Updates: New Changes Coming in 2022 for Public Service Borrowers
3 big takeaways from Biden’s surprise extension of student loan relief
$2.4 billion in student loan forgiveness for 38,000 borrowers in the pipeline, Education Department says
First wave of borrowers get $715 million in student loan forgiveness under new expansion program