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Student Loan Debt Relief Application

Student Loan Debt Relief Application

October 23, 2022

Student Debt Relief Application (NOW OPEN)


Hi everyone, and welcome back to Melissa Making Cents!

As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and a financial coach, people have been asking me a lot recently about public student loan forgiveness. These questions have been skyrocketing. Especially since I put out my first article about the student loan debt relief program outlined by the Biden administration about a month and a half ago. And I get it! It’s hard to sit around and wait for more information once you’re aware of the possibility of having thousands in student debt eliminated!

So today I come with great news. If you’re one of those who believes that you’ll qualify for student loan debt relief as outlined by the president and his administrations in August, then the wait is OVER. Last week (as of the time of writing this) the Beta website was unveiled to the public, and as of this week its officially gone live!

That’s why this week we’re going to spend some time going over SPECIFICS and ACTIONABLE STEPS you can take RIGHT NOW to get a portion of your student loans eliminated! We’re also going to cover the criteria for applying, how to apply, some of the buzz around the program, and more. So buckle up! If you’re ready to finally hear about how to get some of your student debt relieved, here are some dos, don’ts, and everything in between!

 Backstory on Loan Forgiveness History


Melissa Cox CFP provides a backstory on loan debt

First, some back story. Are you totally unaware of what I’m talking about? That’s okay! I’m glad you’re reading this! Back in August the Biden Administration unveiled a three-part plan to tackle student debt for millions of Americans. One of the most talked about parts of this three-part plan was the proposition to eliminate up to $20,000 of federal student loans for those who fit the outlined criteria.

The three part plan also included the promise of tackling the “broken” public student loan forgiveness program by taking immediate steps to get some through the system and more long term steps to make sure its more flexible and manageable for borrowers in the future. The last portion of the plan is to take long term steps to make repayment additional manageable for future borrowers by capping interest rates and creating new limited-income repayment plans.


The topic of discussion today is the first part of the plan, and is referred to as targeted student debt relief.


Loan Forgiveness Clarification


Melissa Cox CFP clarifies points about loan forgiveness

Before I go any further, it is important to make one important clarification regarding loan forgiveness.  The Biden debt cancellation I’m writing about today is a different student loan forgiveness program than the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF).

Melissa Cox CFP investigates questions about loan forgiveness 

There are no changes to the PSLF program, and any court challenges will not effect the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that has been in effect since 2007.  I urge public service employees such as teachers, nurses, counselors..etc to continue to apply for PSLF forgiveness.



Court Challenge News


Melissa Cox CFP explains the current court challenges

While the idea of student debt relief was a welcome surprise to many Americans, there are obviously a portion of the population that wasn’t as thrilled to hear the news.


Shortly after the release of information in August, several states challenged the legitimacy of Biden’s executive order. Specifically, the immediate student debt relief program and application were called into question via the courts.

Learn about the lawsuits challenging Biden's debt cancellation

According to Reuters, “The six states sued on Sept. 29. That same day, the U.S. Department of Education closed the forgiveness program to borrowers with Federal Family Education Loans, also known as FFEL loans,  issued by private banks but guaranteed by the federal government, a move seen as an attempt to avoid lawsuits involving state entities that profit from such loans.”

However, as the same article later outlines, the court challenges by these states have been thrown out and subsequently appealed, putting a temporary block on the Biden cancellation.


Other suits have been filed, dismissed and appealed for various reasons. Many of which revolve around the cancellation hurting income to states and profits of the student loan debt servicers. The same loan servicers that are being paid under federal contracts to manage loans, and thus profiting from the student loans themselves.. but I digress..


 The Details - Do You Qualify and For How Much?


Melissa Cox CFP explains the details of the Biden debt cancellation

I know that this has probably already been quite a bit to take in. However, the next step of this whole process is determine what your eligibility for debt relief is: if you qualify, and how much you qualify for.


“How much do I qualify for?”, you might be asking yourself. That’s right. So, this debt relief program outlines that some may qualify for $20,000 of relief, others may qualify for $10,000, and others may not qualify at all. So, let’s quickly go over some of the specifics so you can find out where you stand.

How much would you receive from the Biden Loan Cancellation 

So, for starters - if you’re a Pell Grant recipient, you may be eligible for up to $20,000. However, if you’re a non-Pell grant Recipient who has federal direct student loans, then you’ll likely only qualify for up to $10,000. But the story doesn’t stop there. You only qualify for any relief if you’re either an individual who made less than $125,000 or a couple who made less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020.


According to the application itself, you have to fit into one of these categories: “I made less than the required income to file federal taxes; I field as a single tax-filer AND made less than $125,000; I was married, filed my taxes separately, AND made less than $125,000; I was married, filed my taxes jointly, AND made less than $250,000; I filed as a head of household AND made less than $250,000; I filed as a qualifying widow(er) AND made less than $250,000”.


Applied for the Beta? Here’s What to Know.


Melissa Cox CFP talks about the beta version of the Biden Application

Last week (at the time of this writing) the Beta version of the student debt relief program application went live on the StudentAid website. During the beta period of the application, about eight million people applied for forgiveness.


Learn about the Beta Application for Biden's program

This can raise some red-flags and questions for those who applied before the official application went live. However, there’s apparently nothing to worry about. If you applied using the beta, the Department of Education says that you’re good to go! That’s right, there’s no need to apply a second time for student loan forgiveness now that the site and application have officially launched.


If you missed the Beta, there’s no need to worry. You still have plenty of time to get your application for up to $20,000 of student debt relief submitted!


The Application - Launch


Melissa Cox CFP talks about the official application launch

So you’ve made it this far! You’ve made sure you qualify, and you’re ready to go! The application process is simple, straightforward, and can be completed in a matter of minutes (given you have access to a computer or smartphone, and have your social security number memorized).

Learn about the launch of Biden's Debt Cancellation application 

Once you’re ready to apply all the information you need is your first and last name, social security number, date of birth, phone number, and email address. You may optionally include your middle initial and former last name (if applicable). While including this information isn’t mandatory, it may speed the process along once you’ve submitted your application.

So if you have all that information ready to go, have made sure that you qualify, and are ready to submit an application, the website is here. However, I’d encourage you to continue reading before submitting an application, as there’s information that could be relevant to you.



Melissa Cox CFP reminds you to not lie.

This is incredibly important, and it shouldn’t HAVE to be stated. However, if you’re thinking of illegitimately submitting an application while knowing that you don’t qualify for forgiveness - DON’T. I promise you that it isn’t worth it and that you will get caught and possibly face legal punishment.


On the StudentAid website and at the bottom of the application you must digitally sign the application and check a box stating that you’re aware that falsifying or misrepresenting yourself on the application open you to fines, prison, or both. Moreover, you aren’t going to fool anyone. You’re submitting an application to people who have the totality of the information, they’re going to review each case either by hand or through some sort of computer program (likely both in some cases).


It’s not worth it, don’t do it.


When Does the Application Window Close?


Melissa Cox CFP talks about the close of the application window

It’s important to get this application done ASAP if you qualify. It opened a few weeks ago (with the Beta), but will ONLY be open until December 31st, 2023. So, if you believe that you’ll qualify for student loan relief as outlined by the Biden administration its important to act now before you forget and it's too late.

Learn about the timeline of the Biden Debt Cancellation 

Who knows when or if this application will ever reopen or if another opportunity like this will come again.


As a side note, I have checked and confirmed that the application is easy to fill out with a smartphone. So, there’s not even a need to wait until you’re at a computer. If you have all of your information, get to it!


Other Student Loan Forgiveness Programs to Take Advantage of.


Melissa Cox CFP talks about other student loan forgiveness options

Don’t forget - we talked about some of the other programs and opportunities that were outlined in this three-part program. One of the other parts of this plan is also currently underway and times quickly running out to take advantage of it.

Learn about other student loan forgiveness options 

One of the main issues that the Biden administration discussed was the “broken public service loan forgiveness program”. One of their primary goals is to make sure that those who should qualify for it will receive the forgiveness that they believe they’re entitled to. And for a limited time, those who would’ve qualified, but were disqualified for some reason may still be eligible. I wrote an article about this, which you can find here.


Make sure you act fast, because the public service loan forgiveness waiver stops on OCTOBER 31st, and goes back to the regular system on NOVEMBER FIRST.


Don’t Forget to Virtually Sign and Submit


Melissa Cox CFP reminds you sign the application!

While it may seem silly to say, don’t forget to virtually sign and submit your application.


Seriously, there’s too much at stake for your student loan relief to fill out the form and forget to sign and submit. And the reason that I’m pointing this out at all is because on the application itself, there’s a few paragraphs of text and space between the application and the sign and submit section. It’s crucial to getting your relief that you scroll down to the bottom of the page to sign, certify (by checking the box), and submit your application.


How to be sure it's been submitted? Once you’ve submitted your application, you should receive a confirmation email from the StudentAid website.


What to do Next?


Melissa Cox CFP talks about next steps in student loan planning

Do you remember being a kid and looking forward to Christmas Day for weeks, months, or heck even all year? Then Christmas Day comes and goes and you’re like, “Wow, that was quick”, then you sort of sadly readjust to regular life? Yeah, that’s how a lot of people feel once they’ve submitted this application for relief. There’s sort of a “what do I do now?”, feeling.

What is next for student loan planning 

Firstly, once you’ve submitted your application - start refreshing that email inbox. Make sure that you get the confirmation email from StudentAid that they’ve received your application for One Time Student Debt Relief. Don’t see it? Check your spam folder. Still don’t see it? Wait a day, and then start digging around your email inbox and contacting "support" to confirm that they’ve received your application.


Then, once you get your email it should outline the “next steps”, which is a kind way of saying sit around and wait. One of two things should happen. Either your application will be processed and you’ll be notified OR the Department of Education will need additional documentation of the information that you’ve submitted to confirm and certify your application.


BEWARE of Scams


Melissa Cox CFP reminds you to be weary of scams

Before and after you submit your application, you should be on high alert for any potential phishing scams that are related to student debt forgiveness. Obviously scammers are constantly on the hunt for new and creative ways to put one over on innocent people. Unfortunately, this application opens many of us up to a certain susceptibility - it’s concerning a large amount of money, and it's time sensitive. Because of that, some of us may feel the need to let our guard down and quickly accomplish tasks given by emails sent to us.


However, it’s not the time to let your guard down. Take extra steps and precautions to certify the sender of emails from StudentAid, the Department of Education, and or your loan servicer before clicking on or opening links. If possible, don’t even click the links from an email - just navigate to their website on your own and look for whatever the email may be referencing.


Beware of scams surrounding student loan forgiveness

So far, I haven’t heard of any hacking or phishing scams surrounding Student Loan Forgiveness or Debt Relief; but it’s only a matter of time.


EDIT: There are now reports of scams.




On a final note, about the student debt relief program - don’t wait, just get it done and out of the way. As we talked about, the cutoff for submitting an application is December 31, 2023. While that seems like it's far away, it’ll come and pass before you know it, and you don’t want to forget to submit this application if you qualify.


Seriously, you’ll be kicking yourself if you miss it. The application can be filled out either on your phone or your computer, takes about two minutes, and is probably one of the easiest forms you’ll EVER fill out. So get it done, get it out of the way, and go back to enjoying your life with a little less student debt.


If you or someone you know is interested in student debt forgiveness, please call or email to schedule an appointment with me. We can go over multiple options to minimize and eliminate student debt!


Schedule a call with Melissa Cox CFP®

Until next time...this is Melissa Making Cents!

Melissa Anne Cox, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, is a College Planning and Student Loan Advisor and Financial Coach in Dallas, Texas.


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