Recently, President Joe Biden announced a student loan forgiveness plan that could help more than 40 million Americans. At the time, exactly when and how to apply for loan forgiveness was not 100% clear, but that changed at the end of last week.

On Friday, borrowers were notified they could begin applying for debt relief through an early, “beta launch” version of a new online form. The U.S. Department of Education will use the beta site to find and fix any glitches and applications submitted during the pilot period will be processed after the form is officially made public.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, Federal Student Loan Debt Relief is a program that provides eligible borrowers with full or partial discharge of loans up to $20,000 to Federal Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 to non-Pell Grant recipients.

To qualify, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Individuals who made less than $125,000 in 2021 or 2020
  • Families that made less than $250,000 in 2021 or 2020
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The following types of federal student loans disbursed (when you received your loan funds) on or before June 30, 2022, are eligible for relief:

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program loans
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by ED or in default at a guaranty agency
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program loans held by ED
  • Defaulted loans (includes ED-held or commercially serviced Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, parent PLUS, graduate PLUS; and Perkins loans held by ED)

This means that subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, parent PLUS loans, and graduate PLUS loans held by ED are eligible. Consolidation loans are also eligible for relief, as long as all of the underlying loans that were consolidated were ED-held loans and were disbursed on or before June 30, 2022.

Additionally, consolidation loans comprised of any FFEL or Perkins loans not held by ED are also eligible, as long as the borrower applied for consolidation before Sept. 29, 2022.

Everyone must apply not later than December 31, 2023. If you're unsure of your eligibility, they will determine your eligibility upon receiving your application and contact you if more information is needed. Your loan servicer will notify you when your relief has been processed.

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