The U.S. Department of Education is releasing new details about President Joe Biden’s groundbreaking student loan forgiveness program.
The most recent information includes which federal student loans are eligible for relief and in what order, as well as how forgiveness will be applied to your debt.
Multiple student loans are not uncommon, according to experts. Higher education specialist Mark Kantrowitz put the number at eight to twelve per borrower.
Here is what is currently known.
Which loan of mine will be paid off first?
When forgiveness is implemented, qualified loans are given the following priority:
- Loans that have been defaulted on: According to Kantrowitz, the forgiveness will be applied to any defaulted loans first.
- Highest interest rate: The loans with the highest interest rates will then receive relief, he said.
- Type of loan: Subsidized loans will be cancelled last, followed by unsubsidized loans.
“If everything is the same, which is unlikely, they will apply it to the most recent loan,” Kantrowitz said. “If that doesn’t differentiate, then they’ll apply it to the loans with the lowest balance.”
How much of my debt is forgiven?
Most federal student loan borrowers will be eligible for some forgiveness, according to President Joe Biden’s announcement in August. The amount of forgiveness will range from $10,000 to $20,000 depending on whether the borrower received a Pell Grant, a type of financial aid available to low-income undergraduate students. How can you tell if you have one?
You will only be cleared for the amount you are qualified for if your outstanding student loan balance is less. However, you are entitled to a reimbursement for any payments you paid during the epidemic.
The reduction is not available to borrowers who make more than $125,000 annually, married couples, or heads of households who make more than $250,000.
Are my loans eligible?
In general, because their debt is under what is known as the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, the vast majority of borrowers, or around 37 million of them, will be eligible for the forgiveness based on their loan type (and then as long as they also fall under the income cap).
This includes all Direct federal student loans, both subsidized and unsubsidized, as well as Direct Stafford Loans. Parent Plus and Grad Loans are also eligible for the relief under the Direct program. Anyone who has one of the government’s five million Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) borrowers may be eligible.
The Education Department recently stated that it is attempting to find a way to provide assistance to the additional 5 million students who have FFEL loans that are commercially held, meaning that a private entity is holding the debt. In the interim, borrowers holding these loans can combine into the primary federal direct program by contacting their servicer or Studentaid.gov.
At Studentaid.gov, you may discover where your FFEL loans are kept. Search for your loan information under the “My Aid” option after logging in with your FSA ID.
Loan cancellation is not possible for private student loans.
What happens if I still owe money after being forgiven?
The average student loan total is above $30,000, so even after forgiveness, many people will still owe money.
But if those start up again in January, your monthly payment might be less. This is so that the Education Department can “reamortize” the new balances of the borrowers. Using your current balance and the number of months left on your repayment schedule, it will recalculate your monthly payment, which is a confusing phrase.
Kantrowitz gave an illustration: Assume you now have $30,000 in student loan debt that has a 5% interest rate. Prior to the epidemic, you made monthly payments of about $320 over a 10-year period.
Your total debt would be lowered by a third if you received $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. Your monthly payment would likewise decrease by a third to approximately $210. The same amount of time still needs to be paid back.