You can apply for student-loan forgiveness as soon as October. Here's what to know about the process

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Eun "Michelle" Cho, CFP®, ChSNC

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Echo Wealth Solutions
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The student-loan forgiveness plan will offer financial relief to millions of borrowers by either erasing their debt entirely or leaving them with smaller monthly payments.

You're eligible for student loan debt relief if your annual federal income is below $125,000 for an individual or $250,000 if you are married, filing jointly, or are the head of household. Whichever tax year is lower between 2020 and 2021 is the year the government will take into account when determining if you qualify for forgiveness. 


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  • The Biden administration plans to forgive $10,000 in student debt for many borrowers.
  • Some borrowers will see their debt cancelled automatically, while others need to apply.
  • You may also qualify for a limited-time Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver.


The Department of Education will forgive $10,000 in loans for all federal borrowers and as much as $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients. If that doesn't completely wipe out what you owe, it will reduce your balance and the amount of money you have to pay each month.

Here's how to make sure you get all the forgiveness you are eligible for.

Sign up to be alerted when applications go live

Most borrowers will have to apply for cancellation, though about 8 million will have their debt cancelled automatically. 

To get cancellation, you'll have to submit an online application with the Department of Education. The application is expected to be ready in early October. Sign up for email alerts from the DOE to be notified when the application goes live by going to ed.gov/subscriptions to get the latest updates. 

Once your application is in, your debt should be canceled within four to six weeks. 

Don't wait to apply. Get your application in before November 15 so you can make sure your relief comes before the repayment pause expires at the end of December. You'll have until December 31, 2023, to submit your application.

Make sure you also update your personal information with your loan servicers so you don't run into any issues receiving forgiveness. 

See if the Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver applies to you

There is a limited-time waiver for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program through October 2022 that temporarily alters its rules and make it easier for borrowers to qualify for forgiveness. 

Public Service Loan Forgiveness, or PSLF, completely forgives the debts of graduates employed in the public sector following at least 10 years of service and eligible payments. Your particular job isn't important, only that you work for a public-service employer. There's no limit to the amount of money that can be forgiven. 

Here are the basic requirements to qualify:

  • Be an employee of the US federal, state, local, or tribal government, or an eligible not-for-profit organization — this includes military service
  • Work full-time for that employer
  • Make 120 qualifying payments

You won't be eligible for the program if you work for a labor union, partisan political organization, or for-profit company — which includes government contractors. 

Here's what you need to know about the waiver: 

  • All repayment plans now count for PSLF

Until October 31, 2022, borrowers may receive credit for past payments that wouldn't normally be eligible for PSLF. All you need is qualifying employment — it doesn't matter the repayment plan, or if the payment was made in full or on time. 

Parent PLUS Loans are not eligible for PSLF, even with this waiver, though Grad PLUS Loans are eligible. 

Previously, you had to repay your loans under an Income-Driven Repayment Plan to be eligible for PSLF, but now past payments under any plan count. 

  • Direct Loans and Direct Consolidation Loans count for PSLF

If you have Direct Loans or Direct Consolidation Loans, the government's changes will apply to you. If you consolidate previously ineligible loans — like Perkins Loan or FFEL Loans — into Direct Consolidation Loans by October 31, 2022, these changes will also apply.

FFEL and Perkins Loans still aren't eligible for the repayment pause. You'll need to consolidate any non-Direct Loans to possibly become eligible for non-payments to count for PSLF — though it isn't guaranteed. 

Go to studentaid.gov/pslf to have your payments counted through the waiver. 



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Eun "Michelle" Cho profile photo

Eun "Michelle" Cho, CFP®, ChSNC

Financial Planner
Echo Wealth Solutions
Office : (702) 721-9061
Contact Now