Education, Tips & Techniques

The 411 on Student Loan forgiveness and how to get it

Could you be eligible?

words by: Natasha Marsh
Jun 23, 2022

I know I’m not alone when I say the way the interest rates on my student loans keep climbing. Prior to the pandemic, I was paying my student loans’ minimum amount each month to stay current, and was therefore never hit with increased interest rates or late payment fees. However, throughout the pandemic, and at the very least, prior to the government pausing student loan debt, I have becoming increasingly worried about paying them off. With a sky-high amount of loans from both undergraduate, and graduate school abroad, I am banking on President Biden to approve total and utter student loan forgiveness.

 

Of course, the concept isn’t new, especially among us students and alumnus wishing for it. It was introduced during former President Obama’s tenure, however, never passed. During the pandemic, student loans have been paused and extended more times than you can count on one hand. But with the recent President Biden announcement, this time, student loan forgiveness could very much be on the horizon. Below are all the updated details we know thus far.

 

As you probably know, President Joe Biden canceled $5.8 billion dollars of student loans. Recently, The Student Borrower Protection Center conducted a report to show who is eligible for student loan cancellation, who is on track to get student debt cancellation, and who has already received student loan cancellation. The organization is now building out a program to help the remaining 98% of eligible student loan borrowers access loan forgiveness.

 

But now for the very fine print. Essentially, the way to get student loan forgiveness is through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program as a public service member who works at least 30 hours a week for a qualified public service or non-profit employer. Of course the government does not make this easy for us.

 

The steps are as follows. First, complete an Employer Certification Form annually, and send it to the U.S. Department of Education. Next, enroll in an income-driven repayment plan, and pay the majority of your federal student loans while enrolled in the plan. Crazy enough, you have to pay for 120 months (over 8 years) in a row before you can qualify for student loan forgiveness.

 

Fortunately, there are a couple of senators who think this is as ridiculous as we do and have proposed a new plan called the Simplifying and Strengthening Act. It lowers payments over the course of 5 years. Lots of laws and conversations must be had until things can be official, but we are hopeful that things will turn around soon with deep student loan debt.

 

What we do know, however, is that student loan forgiveness was on the ballot, so make sure you’re checking who supports it with elections showing up.