Biden’s student loan relief application will open any day now. Here are 5 preparation steps.

Chairman Biden’s plan Writing off up to $20,000 in student loans would require millions of borrowers to fill out an application to get approved, a step that will likely be available within days.

The application will open in October, which will be a “short online application”, the Ministry of Education said on September 29, although it did not specify when exactly the form will be released. In the meantime, borrowers can take a few steps to make sure they’re ready to fill out the form when it goes live.

Because only certain types of debt are covered by the plan — and some borrowers will be able to tap into higher forgiveness limits than others — borrowers should make sure they understand their loans and what they qualify for before filling out an application, experts say. Even if you have everything ready to apply, there may be technical glitches as millions of borrowers are likely to flood the site when the application goes live, noted Melissa Byrne, executive director of WeThe45Million, a group of borrower activists who have lobbied for debt relief .

“I’m sure the Biden administration is 100 percent on it, to provide relief, but it’s a very big system,” Byrne noted. “Everybody wants their relief right away.”

There’s also a potential roadblock to Biden’s relief effort that borrowers should watch: a legal challenge.

A federal judge is expected to rule on a lawsuit against Mr. Biden’s student debt plan by six GOP-led states; By Oct. 12, Washington Post reporter Danielle Douglas-Gabriel told CBS News. If the judge rules on Biden’s move, it “could create a stalemate or stop this policy,” he said.

The lawsuit, filed in September by the attorneys general in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and South Carolina, argues that taxpayers should not be burdened with paying the debt of other Americans who chose to go to college and now they can’t pay off their loans.

“Everybody’s paying attention for next week to see what comes out of this case,” Douglas-Gabriel said.

In the meantime, here are 5 steps you can take now to prepare for the application.

Sign up for an app notification

First, sign up for a notification from the Department of Education that will let you know when the app goes live. This can be done on the Ministry of Education subscription page. Check the first box, which is labeled “NEW!! Federal Student Loan Borrower Updates.”

Don’t forget to monitor your email and spam filters for updates from the Department of Education, Byrne noted. “Be chained to your inbox in case you receive a communication,” he added.

Check if you are a Pell Grant recipient

People who received Pell grants to finance their education can receive up to $20,000 in debt relief—double the $10,000 in forgiveness available to everyone else.

Pell grants are given to low-income students, but Byrne noted that some borrowers may not know if they received one, especially if their parents filled out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, for them. The FAFSA is the financial aid application required to receive loans, financial aid and grants.

“There are a lot of people who don’t even know why their parents might be handling it and they were 17 or 18,” he noted.

To check, go to and log into your Federal Student Aid account. On your dashboard, look for the My Help section, then the Grants and Loans section, which will provide the data.

Determine if your loans are covered

The Biden administration’s plan covers federal loans, which means you need to check that your loans qualify. Private student debt will not be part of the forgiveness.

And the Biden administration recently changed its guidelines to eliminate some student loans from eligibility for forgiveness, a major reversal as the Education Department makes final preparations to begin applications for debt relief.

Beginning September 29, borrowers with student loans through the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and Perkins loans who have not already consolidated their debt into Direct Loans will no longer be able to do so and are no longer eligible for federal relief debt, says the Ministry of Education now.

These programs, although federally guaranteed, are maintained by private foundations. Borrowers with FFEL and Perkins loans who applied for consolidation in the Direct Loan program before Thursday will still be eligible for debt relief.

Collect income data

The program is limited to individuals who earned less than $125,000 or married couples with incomes below $250,000.

The plan will use adjusted gross income, or AGI, which is a number that reflects your gross income minus certain adjustments like student loan interest, according to the IRS. You can find this amount on your tax return (Form 1040) on line 11.

Check your AGI for both 2020 and 2021 because the Biden administration has said it will look at either year.

“Everyone should figure out what their AGI is for those years — even if it’s a penny under $125,000 for singles or a penny under $250,000 for married couples, you’ll qualify, Byrne noted.

Mark November 15th in your calendar

The Department of Education is warning borrowers to apply before Nov. 15 in order to get debt relief before the student loan moratorium ends on Dec. 31.

If you don’t apply by then, all is not lost: the deadline to apply for loan forgiveness is December 31, 2023, and the education department notes that it will continue to process applications as they are received, even after repayments resume in January.

But if you want to make sure your payments reflect the loan relief from January, apply before November 15.

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