Updated Oct 17, 2022 - Economy

Student loan forgiveness application officially live

People holding signs that say "Cancel Student Debit"

Student loan borrowers staged a rally in front of the White House on Aug. 25 to celebrate President Biden canceling student debt. Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for We the 45m

More than 8 million people have submitted student loan forgiveness applications since a beta site launched Friday, President Biden said Monday announcing that the official application is now live.

Why it matters: Biden called the debt relief a "game changer" with the plan canceling up to $20,000 in student debt for Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for individual borrowers who make under $125,000 per year.

  • Biden said more than 40 million Americans can benefit from the relief.
  • The online application takes an estimated five minutes, and documents aren't needed.

The big picture: Biden's student loan forgiveness plan has faced a number of legal challenges as well as criticism from Republicans and some Democrats in battleground states.

Zoom out: The government is advising borrowers to apply by mid-November to receive relief before the student loan payment pause expires on Dec. 31, 2022.

  • The Department of Education will continue to process applications as they are received through Dec. 31, 2023.
  • Relief is expected within six weeks for most borrowers, the government said.

What's next: A paper version of the form is expected soon, the government said on the student aid website.

Student loan application site live

Details: A beta student loan forgiveness application went live Friday night and is now officially live as of Monday afternoon, Biden said.

Zoom in: Borrowers can apply without attaching any proof or documentation that they qualify for debt relief by going through the easy application process.

  • The simple application requests borrower information, such as name, Social Security number, email, phone number and more.
  • Individuals who make less than $125,000 per year, and married couples who earn under $250,000, qualify for forgiveness.

What they’re saying: “As millions of people fill out the application, we’re going to make sure the system continues to work as smoothly as possible so that we can deliver student loan relief for millions of Americans as quickly and as efficiently as possible,” Biden said.

  • “I want to be clear who’s going to benefit most. Working people, middle class.”
  • "About 90% of that relief is going to go to those making less than $75,000 a year," Biden said, dismissing GOP attacks that the plan will benefit wealthy borrowers.
  • "Their outrage is wrong and hypocritical," Biden said of Republicans. "I will never apologize for helping working Americans and middle-class people as they recover from the pandemic."
  • He also warned borrowers about potential scammers and encouraged people to report potential fraud.

Student loan relief deadline for teachers, military and more

Meanwhile, a Halloween deadline is approaching for public service borrowers who are employed by non-profits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal or local government.

  • These borrowers who include teachers may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
  • Borrowers must apply and certify their employment at PSLF.gov by Oct. 31, the government said.

Between the lines: The waiver provides federal student debt relief to public servants after 120 qualifying payments, Axios' Erin Doherty reports.

  • It also allows public servants with student loan debt to earn credit for past payments that previously did not count toward the required 120 monthly payments.

Yes, but: More than 100 congressional Democrats signed a letter in August asking the Biden administration to extend a waiver for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program through July 2023.

Flashback: Earlier this month, the White House said the Department of Education had approved more than $13 billion in forgiveness for more than 211,000 public servants under temporary changes to PSLF.

Editor's note: This story was updated with additional comments from President Biden.

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