Student loan borrowers began applying for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness on Friday after the Education Department launched a beta test of its website ahead of the full rollout of the relief program.
The portal — available at https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application — will be available on and off during the beta test, the agency said. The department’s technical team will be pausing the site at various points for assessments, refinements and maintenance. The agency is encouraging borrowers unable to access the form to try again later or wait until the application is available to everyone. There’s no advantage to applying before the full launch, the agency said.
“Borrowers will not need to reapply if they submit their application during the beta test, but no applications will be processed until the site officially launches later this month,” a spokesperson for the department said. “This testing period will allow the Department to monitor site performance through real-world use, test the site ahead of the official application launch, refine processes, and uncover any possible bugs prior to official launch.”
The department has continued to lay the groundwork for the rollout as the forgiveness plan faces multiple legal challenges. The application is set to open to all borrowers later this month.
Key details on Biden’s student loan forgiveness
- The Biden administration will extend a pause on student loan payments as legal fights have put the debt relief plan in limbo.
- Confused about the status of student loan forgiveness? Here’s what we know.
- Want to calculate your eligibility? See how much of your loan debt can be forgiven.
- In October, a federal appeals court blocked the imminent cancellation of federal student loans.
- President Biden’s plan will cancel some of the federal student debt held by millions of Americans.
- Borrowers can qualify for up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness, and recipients of Pell Grants are eligible for an additional $10,000 in forgiveness.
Earlier this week, the Biden administration gave an early look at the application form for the president’s plan to forgive up to $20,000 in federal loan debt for eligible borrowers. It had previously said that the application would be short and that borrowers would not be required to provide documents or a federal student identification number.
The application will require borrowers to give their Social Security numbers and attest that they earned less than the income caps set for relief. The forgiveness is limited to borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021, or less than $250,000 for married couples. Nearly 95 percent of borrowers with federal student loans meet the income requirement for the program and qualify for relief, according to the White House.
Borrowers have been clamoring for more information about the forgiveness plan since President Biden unveiled it in August. They crashed the Education Department’s website on the day of the announcement. Testing out the application portal could help the administration avoid a repeat.