After much anticipation, federal student loan forgiveness is here. The government is rolling out its plan to erase debt for the roughly 40 million Americans who are paying off federal student loans.
Most people will be eligible to have up to $10,000 forgiven. If you received a Pell Grant award, designed for low-income undergraduate students, you’re eligible for up to $20,000.
Here’s what you need to know to make sure you don’t miss out.
What does student loan forgiveness mean?
Millions of people have been living with the burden of paying off thousands of dollars in student loans they needed to receive a college education. Lifting some of that debt will not only help more Americans breathe easier, it can eventually result in more economic mobility and growth across the country.
When it comes to buying a home, less debt means a lower debt-to-income ratio. That improves your chances of being approved to work with Landis and get a mortgage. It can also help you save more money at a faster rate, and raise your credit score.
How do I know if I qualify?
Loan relief is limited to people who make less than $125,000 per year, or married couples filing jointly or as head of household, who earn less than $250,000 per year combined.
The government will be pulling this information from your tax returns, so review your recent returns to confirm your income fell below those thresholds in either 2020 or 2021. Check out your adjusted gross income specifically, which can be found in Line 11 on the front page of your return — also known as form 1040.
Most federal student loans are eligible, but you can see a list of the specific loans here.
How do I apply?
You may not need to apply to have your student loans forgiven. The Department of Education is going to be using data from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), as well as income-driven repayment plans. If you’re enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan based on your 2020 or 2021 income already, your debt forgiveness should be automatically applied.
Make sure your account is up to date by going to StudentAid.gov. You should also make sure your loan servicer has your current contact information so they can reach you. If you’re not sure who your servicer is, that can be found in your FAFSA account.
If you need to apply, you can do so for free online through this government application form, which will be available until December 2023.
How long does this take?
Borrowers can expect to see the loan cancellation reflected in about 4–6 weeks. You can also expect to hear from your loan servicer to see how it was applied to your account.
What about the student loans I still have to repay?
If you have a balance left over after forgiveness is applied, it will be re-amortized. That means it gets recalculated based on what’s left to give you a new (lower) monthly payment. Your loan servicer will let you know what your new payment is.
Key dates to keep in mind:
- October: The online application goes live so that borrowers can apply for loan forgiveness.
- November 15, 2022: Given the 4–6 week timeline, this is the final day to apply for loan forgiveness before the current pause on student loan repayment resumes and interest begins to accrue again.
- January 1, 2023: Repayment for student loans resumes. Make sure you’re ready for them to avoid missed payments going on your credit report.
- December 21, 2023: The final deadline to apply for student loan forgiveness.
Shrinking debt is a good first step on your path to homeownership. Landis can help by buying your dream home for you. They’ll set you up with a credit coach and built-in savings to get you ready for a mortgage. Get prequalified to see if the Landis program is right for you.