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Student loan forgiveness application now live, though processing delayed

The current application is in a beta stage, according to White House officials, and submissions received during the beta period will not be processed until the finalized application goes live.

U.S. President Biden delivers remarks on student loan debt relief plan at the White House in Washington
President Joe Biden is flanked by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona as he speaks about administration plans to forgive federal student loan debt during remarks Wednesday in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington.
Leah Millis / Reuters
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WASHINGTON — The application for student loan forgiveness is now open — with a catch.

The simple form opened for submissions late Friday evening as part of a beta period, allowing qualifying Americans with student loan debt to apply for forgiveness of up to $20,000.

Though applicants are welcome to apply, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Education made clear to CNN on Friday that no applications will be processed until the website is formally unveiled later this month. Applicants are expected to see forgiveness within weeks of the website's full go-live, a date which has yet to be specified.

The forgiveness program, a campaign point for President Joe Biden, has been months in the making, and would provide up to $10,000 in relief for single borrowers currently earning less than $125,000 annually. Pell Grant recipients could qualify for as much as $20,000 in relief.

Data released in September by the White House indicated that up to 920,000 borrowers in Minnesota and North and South Dakota could be part of up to 42.3 million Americans eligible some amount of relief.

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Data released by the Biden administration indicates as many as 42.3 million borrowers could have a total of $685 billion in student loans forgiven, assuming all eligible borrowers receive the full amount.

Under the assumption that all eligible borrowers received the full amount they qualify for, White House data indicates the plan could cost U.S. taxpayers up to $685 billion, though the White House's budget office estimated a cost of $400 billion, as some borrowers have less than $10,000 or $20,000 in debt to be forgiven, while others may not apply or have died during they repayment period.

To fill out the application is a simple process. Applicants must provide their name, date of birth, social security number and contact information. An attestation is also required to affirm the applicant meets one of six eligibility factors regarding annual income and tax filing status. Proof of income is not required unless contacted by the U.S. Department of Education, though providing false attestations could result in federal perjury charges.

After filling out the application, borrowers will receive a confirmation email, which notes that, unless contacted by the U.S. Department of Education, no further steps are necessary.

After the department begins processing applications in late October, another email will be received upon the approval of an application. That information will be shared by the department with a loan servicer, who will apply credit to a borrower's account.

The application is available on the StudentAid.gov website.

A South Dakota native, Hunter joined Forum Communications Company as a reporter for the Mitchell (S.D.) Republic in June 2021 and now works as a digital reporter for Forum News Service, focusing on local news in Sioux Falls. He also writes regional news spanning across the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin.
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