How to get ready for student debt relief, so you can apply as soon as possible

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In just a few weeks, tens of millions of Americans can apply for student loan forgiveness.

The US Department of Education has said an application will be available before “early October.” It indicates its application It will be simpleBut the federal student loan system is notoriously complicated.

As a result, experts say there are several steps you should take now to get ready.

1. Find out how much relief you might be eligible for

President Joe Biden announced in August that most federal student loan borrowers will be eligible for forgiveness: up to $10,000 if they don’t receive Pell sponsorshipis a type of aid available to low-income college students and up to $20,000 if they do so.

To find out if your college financial aid package includes a Pell Grant, you can check your account on, in the “My Aid” section. Higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz said most recipients come from families with incomes below $60,000.

The relief is also limited to individuals earning no more than $125,000 a year, or households earning less than $250,000.

The Ministry of Education will review the so-called adjusted gross incomeor AGI, which may differ from your gross salary.

To claim your AGI for 2020 and 2021, look for line 11 on the front page of your tax return, called Model 1040.

If your income for both years falls below that limit, you must be decent.

2. Review your loan details

Most federal student loans are eligible for cancellation.

However, there are approximately 5 million borrowers with former student loans, known as the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL), which are held commercially, actually held by private companies. not the government. (You can check your loan type at Studentaid.govagain, by going to the “My Aid” tab.)

Education Department speak it is working to ensure that borrowers with these loans also receive forgiveness, even though it does not hold the debt itself.

But if you have these loans and want to make sure you get forgiven soon, you may want to merge them into the main federal student loan program.

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3. Contact your loan servicer (if necessary)

After the application, ask for relief as soon as possible

Until the loan cancellation application is ready, the Department of Education said. Borrowers can register on its website for updates.

The best, you will be ready to claim relief as soon as the app launches, experts say.

Recent News that some Republicans could bring a legal challenge against student loan forgiveness meaning the relief could be put in jeopardy. However, if you get the loans forgiven before the lawsuit can get in the way, you can continue, Kantrowitz said, “even if the court rules against the Biden Administration.”

Kantrowitz said, borrowers should aim to apply for forgiveness no later than November 15.

That’s because the Department for Education says it will take about six weeks for borrowers to get rescinded once they apply, and you want your balance to be reduced or eliminated by the time of a pandemic-time payment pause. for federal student loans that expire on December 31 .

“If forgiveness will get your debt forgiven completely, you can avoid paying any payments on your student loans,” says Kantrowitz.

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