Student Loan Cancellation

The One-time Federal Student Loan Debt Relief is currently blocked. Courts have issued orders blocking the student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, studentaid.gov is not accepting applications. The U.S. Department of Education is seeking to overturn those orders. We are monitoring the situation. Stay tuned.

You have probably heard about the latest student loan cancellation announcement, and we want you to have the information and resources you need from trusted sources. In summary:

About the latest relief

On August 24, 2022, The Biden Administration announced it will cancel federal student loan debt for single borrowers with income below $125,000 and married borrowers and heads of household with income below $250,000. Borrowers who received at least one Pell Grant while attending school will be eligible for up to $20,000 in cancelation, borrowers who did not receive Pell Grants will be eligible for up to $10,000 in cancelation. About 20 million individuals will have their debt fully canceled and even more will receive partial relief through this plan. Borrowers need to apply to benefit. The application became available on October 17, 2022 and borrowers must apply by December 31, 2023. However, we recommend eligible borrowers apply as soon as possible. It takes less than 5 minutes to complete and there is no login, nor are any documents required.

The Administration also announced a final extension of the payment pause through December 31, 2022. Interest rates will be set to 0% and payments suspended until that date. Payments will resume in January 2023.

The Administration is also proposing the creation of a new Income-Driven-Repayment (IDR) plan that would significantly reduce monthly payments for borrowers. Details about when the plan might be available were not announced.

The Administration has proposed making permanent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program which will make it easier for borrowers to accumulate qualifying payment credit in the future. These changes include counting partial and late payments and including certain periods of deferment and forbearance. However, it is note-worthy that the PSLF Waiver, which allows borrowers to get credit for past payments that would otherwise not qualify, is still set to end on October 31, 2022. That deadline was not extended.

What should borrowers do right now?

Update your contact information on studentaid.gov and student loan servicer accounts

While we wait for additional details and a formal cancellation application, you must ensure both your studentaid.gov and servicer accounts are updated with your most recent contact information. Why?

Studenaid.gov is the federal government’s national student loan database.  All federal student loans will be listed on this account. You can also confirm if you received a Pell Grant here.  More importantly, the federal government will be communicating with borrowers and using the contact information they have on record to do so. You don’t want to miss out on important notices or potential action steps.

Make sure you have access to your federal student loan servicer account(s). Servicers are contracted by the federal government to collect payments and manage your loans. Your servicer will be communicating with you about any changes to your account, including cancellation and payments resuming.

Be ready to make payments by January 2023

This last payment pause extension should be it.  The government is recommending cancellation applications be filed by November 15, 2022, in order to receive this benefit before the payment pause expires. However, it’s likely that not all applications will be processed by the time payments resume, and despite cancellation, millions of borrowers will still have outstanding federal student loan balances.  As a result, it is imperative that borrowers start planning and budgeting for making payments next year.  It is still unknown when the new Income Driven Repayment plan will be available.  But borrowers can explore their repayment plan options, including other IDR plans, through studentaid.gov or by calling their student loan servicers. Borrowers should avoid deferment or non-COVID forbearances whenever possible.

If your loans are in default, learn more about Fresh Start

Federal loans in default will be eligible for student loan cancellation.  If cancellation ends up covering your total loan balance, that can potentially mean you will be student debt free. However, if cancellation does not eliminate your student debt and your loans are in default, learn about a new initiative called Fresh Start and take advantage of it. Fresh Start will likely be implemented at the beginning of 2023 and will be time limited.

If you don’t know the status of your federal student loans or who is managing them, you can call the U.S. Department of Education’s Default Resolution Group 1-800-621-3115. We advise that you become familiar with Fresh Start before speaking with them.

If you work in the nonprofit or government sector, do not miss the October 31, 2022, PSLF Waiver deadline

For many borrowers, cancellation will not eliminate their entire student loan debt, but those who work in the public sector have an additional option to receive total loan forgiveness through PSLF.  Last year the Biden Administration made temporary changes that make it easier for borrowers to qualify for this program.  Borrowers must act by October 31, 2022, to benefit from this relief, known as the PSLF Waiver.  Here are some resources you can use: information about the PSLF Waiver; free PSLF webinars, and step-by-step guide.

Do not fall prey to scams. Get free information and help from trusted sources.

Student loan scams are on the rise. Remember that you should never have to pay for student loan help.  Get advice and information from free and trusted sources.

You can get updates about the latest relief at studentaid.gov.  To be notified when the cancellation application opens, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page. For more information about PSLF and updated FAQs about the loan cancellation program, go to forgivemystudentdebt.org.

If you are a New York State resident and need one-on-on one free and unbiased help, reach out to us—EDCAP.