Can current college students apply for Biden’s student loan forgiveness program?


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Students currently enrolled in college and graduate school are eligible to apply for forgiveness of up to $20,000 of the federal student loans they’ve received if they meet certain family income requirements, according to information posted by Federal Student Aid (FSA), an office of the U.S. Department of Education (DOE).


When President Joe Biden’s plan for one-time loan cancellation was announced in August, it was clear that college graduates with federal loans were eligible, as were those who had dropped out of college but still needed to pay back their federal loans.

Now it has become apparent that students enrolled in college before June 30, 2022, will also be able to apply for federal loan forgiveness.


“Borrowers are eligible for debt relief regardless of whether they’re in repayment, in school, or in grace, as long as they meet the income requirements and have eligible loans,” according to the FSA Fact Sheet “One Time Student Loan Debt Relief.”


Recommended: Student Loan Forgiveness: Programs for Relief and Mass Forgiveness

What Are the Requirements for Students to Apply for Forgiveness?

Current students can apply for forgiveness for federal loans if they received them before June 30, 2022. (Unfortunately, this means that freshmen who started this fall aren’t eligible.) If the students are dependents of their parents, FSA will be looking at the annual income of the parents to certify eligibility, not the student.


“If you were enrolled in school as a dependent student for financial aid purposes between July 1, 2021, and June 30, 2022, your eligibility is based on parent income. After you fill out your own application form, we’ll contact you so your parent can complete a Parent Income Form,” explains the FSA Fact Sheet.


Current undergraduates and graduate students can apply for forgiveness, as can those who did not complete their degree.


“Current students and borrowers who have federally held undergraduate, graduate, and Parent PLUS loans that were distributed on or before June 30, 2022 are eligible for the relief, said Megan Walter, a policy analyst for the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators,” in U.S. News & World Report.


For dependent students, the important question is “What is the income of your parents?” The income cutoff for this one-time debt cancellation is $125,000 for a single parent or $250,000 for the household. If the student’s parents meet this eligibility requirement, then the student could receive up to $10,000 in debt relief.


As for the $20,000 in debt relief that has been announced, the only students eligible to apply for it are those who have already received a Pell Grant and whose parents’ household incomes do not exceed $250,000.


Pell Grant is awarded to undergraduate students with low or moderate income. If you’re unsure, you can log in to  to see if you received a Pell Grant.

When Will the Loan Forgiveness Application Be Available?

The application for one-time federal student loan forgiveness went live online on Oct. 17, 2022. After you apply, the DOE will determine your eligibility and will contact you if they need more information. Your loan servicer will notify you when your relief has been processed.


Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief without applying for it because the DOE already has their income information. But if you are uncertain whether you fall into that group, it’s recommended that you fill out the application.


Qualified borrowers whose repayments are set to resume or start in 2023 are advised to apply without delay in order to receive relief before the pause on all federal loan payments expires after Dec. 31, 2022.

Which Federal Student Loans Are Eligible for Forgiveness?

Subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, parent PLUS loans, and graduate PLUS loans held by the Department of Education (ED) are eligible for forgiveness programs. The following specific types of federal student loans with an outstanding balance as of June 30, 2022, also qualify for relief:

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by ED or in default at a guaranty agency
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program loans held by ED
  •  Defaulted loans (includes ED-held or commercially serviced Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, parent PLUS, and graduate PLUS; and Perkins loans held by ED)

Consolidation loans are also eligible for relief, as long as all of the underlying loans that were consolidated were ED-held loans and were disbursed on or before June 30, 2022.


Additionally, consolidation loans comprised of any FFEL or Perkins loans not held by ED are also eligible, as long as the borrower applied for consolidation before Sept. 29, 2022, says the FSA website.

What About Private Student Loans?

Private (non-federal) loans are not eligible for Biden’s debt relief. Also, if you consolidated federal loans into a private loan, the consolidated private loan is not eligible for debt relief. Once you refinance, you cannot apply for any of Biden’s forgiveness programs for that loan.

Will the Canceled Student Loan Debt be Taxable?

One-time student loan debt relief won’t be taxed at the federal level. Some states may be taxing this debt relief, however, so check with your state of residence for the latest information.


The FSA site said, “If you would like to opt out of debt relief for any reason — including because you are concerned about a state tax liability — contact your loan servicer by phone or email and tell them that you don’t want to receive one-time student loan debt relief.”


Recommended: What Biden’s Student Loan Debt Relief Means for Your Taxes

Is Federal Student Loan Relief a Certainty?

Biden’s debt relief plan may face obstacles. The burden placed on students by their large loans has been a burning controversy for years. Some 43 million Americans are paying down their student loans. The average student debt per person is over $37,000, with half of all student borrowers still owing $20,000 more than 20 years after they entered school.


When President Biden announced his student loan relief plan in August, he said, “In keeping with my campaign promise, my Administration is announcing a plan to give working and middle class families breathing room as they prepare to resume federal student loan payments in January 2023.”


Biden has emphasized that the debt relief targets low- and middle-income families.


Nonetheless, the relief plan has met with opposition. Some say it will worsen inflation, others believe that Biden does not have the authority for a debt cancellation. And there are those who say that debt relief is unfair to people who made personal sacrifices to pay off their loans without government forgiveness.


Several lawsuits have been filed to try to halt the one-time debt cancellation. As of October 12, none had succeeded in stopping Biden’s relief plan.


Recommended: What You Need to Know About the Challenges to Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness

The Takeaway

Current students are eligible for President Biden’s one-time student loan debt forgiveness of up to $20,000 if their federal loans were disbursed before June 30, 2022, and if income criteria is met. If the student is a dependent, the annual income the FSA will be looking at is that of the parents, not the student. That income can’t exceed $125,000 for a single parent or $250,000 for the household.

3 Student Loan Tips

  1. Can’t cover your school bills? If you’ve exhausted all federal aid options, private student loans can fill gaps in need, up to the school’s cost of attendance, which includes tuition, books, housing, meals, transportation, and personal expenses.
  2. Parents and sponsors with strong credit and income may find much lower rates on no-fee private parent student loans than federal parent PLUS loans. Federal PLUS loans also come with an origination fee.
  3. Even if you don’t think you qualify for financial aid, you should fill out the FAFSA form. Many schools require it for merit-based scholarships, too. You can submit it as early as Oct. 1.


How old do student loans have to be to qualify for Biden’s forgiveness plan?

Federal student loans received by a student before June 30, 2022 will be eligible for one-time relief as long as the income requirement for eligibility is met.

How long do I have to apply for debt relief?


Once the application is live, you’ll have until December 31, 2023, to submit your application for student loan debt relief.


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More from MediaFeed:

Celebrities who struggled with student loans


When you have student loans, you may feel overwhelmed and alone with your debt. But you are far from alone in your student loan struggle — even the rich and famous have struggled with this type of debt. Some celebrities have taken a good long time to get rid of their student loan debt, too. Here are the stories of some celebrities with student loans, and how they managed their debt.

Editorial Note:This content is not provided or commissioned by any financial institution. Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and may not have been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the financial institution.


The road to the U.S. presidency is not always a cheap one. Former President Barack Obama went to Occidental College and Columbia University before getting his law degree at Harvard Law School.

In a 2013 speech, Obama said both he and former First Lady Michelle Obama graduated with a lot of student loan debt, particularly following law school (both attended Harvard Law). He also didn’t finish paying back his loans until he was in his 40s.

“We each graduated from college and law school with a mountain of debt,” he said in the speech. “And even though we got good jobs, we barely finished paying it off just before I was elected to the U.S. Senate.”

Obama noted that he should have been saving for his daughters’ education while he was still paying off his own student loans. And while that must have been a difficult choice, paying down your own debt before saving money for your children can be a smart financial decision for the long-term.


Pete Souza / WikiMedia Commons


The writer Cheryl Strayed is best known for her bestselling book, “Wild,” which became a major motion picture starring Reese Witherspoon. But before she found success and had a movie star playing her on the big screen, Strayed struggled with money problems, including a high student debt load.

“My husband (and) I were both buried in student loan debt well into our 40s (we both grew up poor/working class with families who couldn’t/didn’t contribute any $ to our college educations),” she tweeted in 2019.

Strayed went to the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate student and later earned an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University in New York.

In an anthology about writers and their money issues, Strayed also talked about how she was only able to pay off her student loans when she finally got the advance for “Wild. “ She also had around $85,000 in credit card debt at the time.

You don’t have to wait to get a windfall to start managing your student loan debt, however. Here are six ways you can repay your student loans.


Larry D. Moore / WikiMedia Commons


Actor Miles Teller has starred in movies including the “Fantastic Four” and the “Divergent” series, but, as of 2015, he was also still paying off student loan debt from his time at New York University.

In a 2015 interview with Vulture, Teller said his business manager told him that interest on his debt is so low, it made no sense to pay them off earlier.

While that decision might work for Teller because he has multi-million dollar movie contracts and may be making other investments, for some people, it makes sense to pay off student loan debt faster.

If you can’t decide if it’s better to pay off your loans or invest your money, check out this student loan payoff versus invest calculator to help you make an informed decision.


Gage Skidmore / WikiMedia Commons


While you may know her from the hit show “Grey’s Anatomy,” Kate Walsh struggled financially early on. In her younger years, she worked at Burger King and Dairy Queen. Later, she attended the University of Arizona.

In a 2016 interview with Refinery29, Walsh stressed how difficult it was to handle her debt.

“I am a person who came out of college with, oh, jeez, just thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars in debt,” she said in the interview. “And the only way I was, honestly, able to pay off my student loans was at age 37, because I happened to get on a big, fat TV show called ‘Grey’s Anatomy,’ and I was able to finally pay my student loan debt. And that’s insane — it was just interest accruing and accruing and accruing.”

In part because of her experience with student loans, Walsh campaigned to encourage people to get out and vote in the 2016 presidential election.


Samhsa / Wikimedia Commons


If your favorite show is “Scandal,” take comfort in knowing that Olivia Pope understands your student loan woes. In fact, actress Kerry Washington didn’t finish paying off her debt from George Washington University until she was cast in that iconic role, she told Elle magazine in a 2016 interview.

In a speech she gave at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, Washington emphasized where she came from and how student loans made education possible for her.

“I’m here not just as an actress but as a woman, as an African-American, a granddaughter of Ellis Island immigrants, a person who could not have afforded college without the help of student loans,” Washington said. / WikiMedia Commons


Actor Jon Hamm starred as advertising executive Don Draper for years on the highly acclaimed TV series “Mad Men.” But before he found serious success, he also wrestled with debt from his days as a student at the University of Missouri.

At a political rally in 2014, he told the crowd that, although he graduated college in 1993, he was not able to pay off his debt until 2004.

“It shouldn’t be that way; it really shouldn’t,” he told the crowd. “It should be easier.”


Dominick D / WikiMedia Commons


While you may not have the salary of the celebrities on this list, you can still learn from their experiences. All of them struggled with student loans and managed their debt differently. While some still have not paid them off, others scrimped and saved to pay them off before they even made it big.

And it’s not only celebrity stories that can inspire you. Read here to learn about one man who paid off his student loans in two years, and then began doing it again.

Diligently applying even small amounts to your loan balance can help you pay your debt off faster and save money in interest. For more information on different strategies of paying off your loans, learn about the debt avalanche and debt snowball methods.

Rebecca Stropoli contributed to this report

This article originally appeared on and was syndicated by


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