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Student-debt relief application opens through exam venue: What to know

US government on Friday opened a test website Let Americans with federal student loans apply for up to $20,000 in loan forgiveness.

Beta site comes after Biden administration Told Its goal was to create an application that was “short and simple”. The trial application requires just a few minutes to fill out, but can leave some borrowers with questions about the timing of loan forgiveness, among other issues.

About 95% of Americans with college debt are expected to qualify for relief, while the remainder make a lot of money and are ineligible. While the program could help the nearly 40 million Americans who are taking on debt from higher education, it has also drawn legal challenges From conservative lawmakers and advocacy groups who are seeking to block the effort.

Unless those challenges result in a court injunction, the beta application site indicates that the Department of Education is “on track to begin forgiving student loans in November and December before January 2023, when student loan repayments resume.” is expected to occur,” said Benjamin Salisbury, an analyst with Height Securities, in a research note.

Here’s what to know about applying for student loan forgiveness.

What is Beta Launch?

The Biden administration is testing the application ahead of its official rollout later this month.

As part of the trial, it is inviting those who qualify for the government’s forgiveness program, “to be a tester of online applications now before it’s officially launched, for student loan relief.” One of the first to apply,” according to a Saturday email from the Department of Education.

You can find the beta application here.

If I fill out the beta application, will I have to reapply later?

No, according to the Biden administration.

“If you submit an application during this period, it will be processed when the site officially launches,” the Department of Education said. “You will not need to resubmit. If you have already applied and received a confirmation email, you do not need to apply again.”

Application is not available. What is happening?

The Department of Education said the test application “will remain on and off during this beta period.” According to the agency, if you visit the site and it’s not available, try again.

“Once officially opened later this month, it will remain open until December 31, 2023,” it said.

How long is the application?

The application is short, with two sections that require only a few minutes to fill out.

  • In the first section you need to provide basic information about yourself including name, date of birth, email and social security number.
  • The second section is a “verification” that you qualify for loan forgiveness, in which your income falls below the cutoff for eligibility.

Only individuals who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021 and married couples with a total annual income of less than $250,000 are eligible for debt relief under the program.

The application does not require borrowers to upload tax forms or any other documents.

However, Biden administration officials said there may be cases where some applicants are required to provide more documents to confirm that they are eligible. For example, borrowers who are “more likely to exceed the income cutoff” may have to provide tax returns or other documents to prove their income meets eligibility requirements, an official said.

What if I claim to be eligible when I am not?

The verification section of the form requires applicants to confirm that they are eligible “under penalty of lying”. In signing verification, applicants are verifying that they earn within the income limits set by the program and that they are individuals applying for debt relief.

Those who claim to qualify for loan forgiveness but actually earn more than the income limit could face fines and other problems, including jail time, administration officials have said.

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