A New Student Loan Program Could Have Debt Forgiveness for Thousands

President Biden plan to forgive up to $20,000 in student debt for the 40 million Americans who are trapped-trapped in legal challenges that can hold up debt for months, or for good.

But the Department of Education has announced another program that could reduce the burden of student loans for up to 3.6 million borrowers – and forgive the loans of more than 40,000 Americans.

This initiative was launched earlier this year to correct lenders’ practices of guiding borrowers through programs that ultimately result in their forgiven. student loans. It will affect fewer borrowers than Biden’s student loan forgiveness program, but it could help some of those most in need of debt relief — including people who went in low-wage fields or public service jobs after college.

“The Ministry is reviewing all the information of the federal borrowers. We are making adjustments to one account to get the borrowers’ debt every month to the income forgiveness (IDR), and if eligible, the State Government Forgiveness (PSLF),” the statement said. The Department of Education told TIME in a statement. “These actions demonstrate the commitment of the Biden-Harris Administration to ensuring that federal student loan programs are administered fairly and efficiently and not borrowers are left with lifelong debt burdens.”

Here’s what you need to know about student loan reviews administered by the Department of Education, and how to find out if you qualify.

What is the new student loan review program?

The new program focuses on borrowers whose loans were put into forbearance. Forbearance stops paying student loans each month, but those loans continue to accrue interest, increasing the amount of debt.

An NPR investigation revealed that Nearly 5.5 million borrowers spent three years in forbearance though alternatives such as refinancing (IDR)—which use the monthly income of the borrower and the rest of the family to direct student loan repayment plans—were available because borrowers were not registered or notified. other options. Most borrowers under IDR are eligible for forgiveness after 20 or 25 years of payments depending on the type of degree.

Another option that some new graduates often overlook is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)—a program that forgives student loan debt after graduation. a 120 salary eligibility for some non-profit and government employees.

Reveal it in April, the one-time account adjustment is part of the Ministry of Education’s plan to end the way lenders put borrowers in an unfair situation. Opting for forbearance can save borrowers years from paying off their student loans.

What does it mean for borrowers?

The Department of Education’s review is important because borrowers with an income payment plan can have their debt forgiven after 20 to 25 years of repayment.

The new version of the account will automatically review the loan’s payment history to add more months to their total payment, even if they are not current. enrollment in an income-based repayment plan.

Below the reviewThe Department of Education will provide the borrower with credit for partial and late payments, as well as payments made under other types of loans. Prior qualifications or payment plans.

Those who have borrowed 12 times or 36 months plus in forbearance will have that time added to their total payment.

Borrowers who applied for PSLF before the end of October 2022 are also eligible for a loan waiver if they reach 120 payments for the program.

Other borrowers, who have not reached the deadline for full forgiveness, can expect to see changes in the amount of payments in July 2023.

Borrowers can call their servicer to verify whether they are currently enrolled in repayment, or are eligible for it – but nothing is required to be done for Borrowers receive a change of account if they have a direct loan, which means their loan is managed by the Ministry of Education.

Borrowers of federal loans held by business owners need to consolidate their loans by May 1 to qualify. for this change.

You can sign in studentaid.gov to check who your loan servicer is.

What about other student forgiveness efforts?

In August, the Biden administration announced its student loan relief plan, which sought forgive $10,000 in federal student loans for multiple borrowers, and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.

But the program was halted by legal challenges in six Republican-led states, more than 40 million borrowers from receiving aid. Of those 40 million, almost 20 million would have their debts cancelled.

For now, the future of this project remains up in the air because the lawsuit is scheduled to go before the Supreme Court in 2023.

Lenders are planning to resume student loan payments starting next year. The Ministry of Education expanded The student loan will be forgiven 60 days after the Department is authorized to implement the Biden student loan relief program, or the judgment based on the plan has been resolved. If this does not happen by June 30, 2023, payments will begin in August.

“The aggressive efforts to stop student debt in the courts have created financial uncertainty for millions of borrowers who can’t set their family budgets or plan for the holidays without a clear picture of their credit score,” said US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “I want borrowers to know that the Biden-Harris Administration has their backs and that we are as committed as ever to the fight to deliver critical student debt relief to the tens of millions of Americans.”

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