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$39 Billion Student Loan Forgiveness Program: Biden’s Revised Plan And Eligibility Requirements

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Student Loan Forgiveness

(CTN NEWS) – President Joe Biden and the Department of Education have unveiled a student loan forgiveness program, amounting to $39 billion, which was announced on Friday (click here to learn more).

This initiative represents a scaled-down version of President Biden’s earlier, more ambitious plan for student loan forgiveness.

However, in order to determine eligibility, individuals will be required to examine their repayment history spanning a minimum of two decades, thus delaying immediate relief for recent graduates.

New Eligibility Criteria for Student Loan Forgiveness Program: Expanded Coverage and Inclusion of Previously Excluded Payments

Under the existing program, borrowers become eligible for partial forgiveness after making a minimum of 240 or 300 monthly payments, depending on their specific repayment plan and loan type.

However, previously, late, partial, or deferred payments did not contribute towards this forgiveness count.

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Friday’s announcement brings about a change in this regard, as now those monthly payments that were previously excluded from forgiveness calculations will be included.

This change applies to individuals enrolled in income-driven repayment plans, which adjust payment amounts based on income and family size.

It also includes those currently or previously enrolled in the public service loan forgiveness program, as well as borrowers with direct or federal family education loans held by the Department of Education.

To determine eligibility, individuals falling into these categories need to add up the following: the number of regular monthly payments made.

The number of months with late or partial payments, the number of months with paused payments (only if they’ve paused for 12 consecutive months or 36 cumulative months).

And the number of months with payment deferments (only economic hardship or military deferments after January 1, 2013, count; in-school deferments prior to 2013 do not count).

If the total count of these months reaches a minimum of 240 or 300, depending on the borrower’s program type, they will qualify for student loan forgiveness.

To determine the specific requirement of 240 or 300 months, borrowers will need to refer to their specific repayment plan and loan details.

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Individualized Student Loan Forgiveness: A Departure from Biden’s Previous Plan

The student loan forgiveness plan announced on Friday differs significantly from President Biden’s earlier proposal, as it no longer provides a uniform amount of forgiveness for large groups of borrowers.

Instead, the amount forgiven will vary for each borrower, contingent upon various factors.

It is important to note that individuals who have been completely non-compliant with loan payments over an extended period are unlikely to qualify for forgiveness.

The loan forgiveness initiative unveiled on Friday primarily entails modifications to an existing loan forgiveness program governed by the Higher Education Act and Department of Education regulations.

This announcement comes two weeks after the Supreme Court invalidated President Biden’s more ambitious student loan forgiveness plan.

Initially, Biden aimed to forgive up to $20,000 in debt for approximately 43 million federal borrowers. However, a conservative majority ruling of 6-3 deemed that he lacked the authority to implement such measures.

The Supreme Court estimated that Biden’s original plan would have eliminated $430 billion in debt for 20 million borrowers, in contrast to the current plan’s allocation of $39 billion for 804,000 borrowers.

James Kvaal, the Under Secretary of Education, argued that prior to the recent changes, “millions of borrowers had earned loan forgiveness but never received it,” which he deemed “unacceptable.”

He stated, “Today, we are fulfilling the promise made to borrowers who have faithfully repaid their loans for decades.”


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Alishba Waris is an independent journalist working for CTN News. She brings a wealth of experience and a keen eye for detail to her reporting. With a knack for uncovering the truth, Waris isn't afraid to ask tough questions and hold those in power accountable. Her writing is clear, concise, and cuts through the noise, delivering the facts readers need to stay informed. Waris's dedication to ethical journalism shines through in her hard-hitting yet fair coverage of important issues.

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