Here’s what to expect in Biden’s student loan forgiveness application

As millions of student borrowers wait for President Biden’s debt relief package application, the White House is releasing a few more details about what they can expect from the form.

The application will be short and will not require borrowers to upload documents or give their federal student identification number, a senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday. It’s unclear how the administration will verify an applicant’s eligibility for a pardon, but the White House said it will release details in the coming weeks.

The administration previously said an application would be released in early October, but the timing is uncertain due to lawsuits filed last week seeking to block the loan cancellation plan. In one of the cases, a federal judge has scheduled a hearing for Oct. 12 on whether to impose a preliminary injunction sought by six GOP-led states. In a court document last week, the Department of Education said it would not settle any debts until October 17 as the judge makes a decision.

Higher education journalist Danielle Douglas-Gabriel explains how you can apply for federal student loan forgiveness. (Video: Casey Silvestri/The Washington Post)

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In a call with reporters on Wednesday, a senior administration official The official said the date provided to the court had no bearing on when the application went live, but declined to give a firm release date.

“We are moving full speed ahead to provide relief to borrowers who need it most,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity in accordance with ground rules set by the administration. “We have already started communicating with borrowers about what to expect in the coming weeks. And we will have more updates in the coming days.

The White House said borrowers should complete their application for forgiveness by Nov. 15 to have it processed before federal student loan payments resume in January. Applications will continue to be processed on an ongoing basis.

The app’s simple design aims to prevent scams against student borrowers, according to the White House. Consumer groups and federal agencies have been monitoring an increase in scams targeting student borrowers since Biden unveiled his debt relief plan in August.

The president’s policy would forgive up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 a year, or less than $250,000 for married couples. Those who received Pell Grants, federal aid for low-income students, could see up to $20,000 forgiven.

According to the Better Business Bureau, some borrowers are getting calls from people claiming to represent the federal program and asking for bank details. Others are asked to pay an upfront fee in return for assistance.

The Federal Trade Commission has warned borrowers against splitting their financial aid ID, pay anyone for help asking for forgiveness and trust anyone claiming to call from the education department.

The federal agency said it was working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to hold scammers accountable if they take advantage of borrowers. Both encourage borrowers to file complaints to help them in their efforts.

The Biden Administration said that starting this month, it will also work with state agencies to regularly share complaint reports to identify and combat scams. The Department of Education on Wednesday released a list of actions borrowers should and should not take in preparation for the release of the request.

About 8 million borrowers whose income is already registered with the department will have their loan automatically canceled without having to apply. Everyone else can sign up at at be notified when the form is online.

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