Student Loan Forgiveness: Don’t Be Caught Off Guard When Application Goes Live in October — How To Prepare

Graduation mortar board cap on one hundred dollar bills concept for the cost of a college and university education.
Brian A Jackson /

The Biden administration’s federal student loan forgiveness program, unveiled to great fanfare in August, has run into some bumps getting up and running — including multiple lawsuits that aim to either alter the program or shut it down.

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A couple of those lawsuits have already been thrown out, and many experts believe the others will be as well. But they have caused uncertainty over when borrowers will be allowed to apply for loan forgiveness.

Fortune recently reported that forgiveness will be pushed back until at least Oct. 17 because of one lawsuit from six state attorneys general alleging that President Joe Biden is overstepping his executive powers. But other media reports — including one last week from CNBC — say the application process could go live any day now.

Regardless of when the process begins, federal student loan borrowers should be prepared to move quickly when the U.S. Department of Education releases the application form.

Your first order of business should be to check whether you qualify for forgiveness in the first place, and then determine the amount. Most federal student loans are eligible, including:

  • Undergraduate and graduate direct loans
  • Parent PLUS and grad PLUS loans and consolidation loans
  • Federal Family Education Loan program loans
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You should also compile records of your loans and contact your loan servicer to answer any questions. Once that’s done, the Education Department’s Federal Student Aid website offers these tips to get ready for the application:

  • If you don’t already have one, create a account to help you manage your loans.
  • Log in to your account at and make sure your contact info is current. The Education Department will send you updates by both email and text message, so make sure to sign up to receive text alerts.
  • Make sure your loan servicer has your most current contact information so it can reach you. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can log in to and see your servicer(s) in your account dashboard.
  • To be notified when the process has officially opened, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

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The Education Department will share updates and send out emails when the application is available. You will have until Dec. 31, to submit your application.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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