On Wednesday, August 24, President Biden announced that the federal government will extend the current pause on monthly student loan payments, which means that borrowers will not have to resume making payments until at least January. President Biden also stated that the federal government plans to forgive up to $20,000 worth of student loan debt, for those who qualify.
First, in order to qualify for loan forgiveness, student loan debt must be through the federal government, meaning that individuals who have private loans will not be eligible. Second, unmarried individuals must earn less than $125,000 per year to be eligible for up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness. If you are married and file joint tax returns, or are a head of household, you will qualify for up to $10,000 in student loan forgiveness if your annual income is less than $250,000. Finally, if you meet these income requirements, and received a Pell Grant while in school, you could be eligible for $20,000 in forgiveness.
President Biden is relying on the HEROES Act of 2003 [20USC 1098bb], in order to extend the pause on student payments as well as forgive certain amounts of student loans for qualifying individuals. There may be challenges to the President’s reliance on this statute in order to forgive student loan debt in the future. For more information, please go to https://studentaid.gov/manage-loans/forgiveness-cancellation.
Elizabeth M. Siefker is an attorney at Fraser Trebilcock in the trusts and estates practice group focusing on estate planning, elder law, and business planning. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 517.377.0801.