Biden administration offers student loan debt forgiveness

Eva Philips, Staff Writer

Students who have taken out federal loans to subsidize their college education can now access some debt relief through a new debt-forgiveness program created by the Biden administration. In August, President Biden announced that individuals who borrowed student loans from the federal government could apply to have up to $20,000 of their federal loan debt forgiven.  

On October 17, the program officially began, as the application opened to borrowers across America.  

The application is available through the federal student aid website “” The process is simple and streamlined, as applicants need only provide their name, contact information, Social Security number, and date of birth.  

Biden’s debt forgiveness plan allows individuals making up to $125,000 in annual income to have $10,000 of their federal loan debt cancelled.  

Certain borrowers who received Pell Grants from the federal government to fund their education can receive up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.  

While federal taxes will not apply to the debt forgiveness, states may require borrowers to pay income tax on the forgiven debt.  

Biden stated his expectation for millions of Americans to take advantage of the debt forgiveness program. In one weekend alone, when the application was still in beta development, 8 million borrowers completed the application.  

Graduate students and some current students, as well as those who have already graduated college, can apply. Parents who took out a Parent PLUS Loan, a federal loan meant to help parents finance their children’s education, can also apply for the federal loan forgiveness program if their income is less than $125,000.  

The debt forgiveness initiative is targeted toward working-class and middle-class Americans, who have the greatest difficulty financing a college education. Its income cap of $125,000 limits the program to those with the greatest financial need who would have the greatest challenge in paying off their student debt.  

The astronomical cost of college education often forces young adults to take out federal loans, which burdens many with tens of thousands of dollars of student loan debt by the time they graduate. Many borrowers also utilize private student loans, which are not covered by Biden’s plan.  

Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan partially fulfills the promises he made on the campaign trail, as he made a commitment to relieving the burden of student debt if elected.  

Despite the program’s potential to aid millions of Americans and provide a boost to the economy, it has encountered opposition from Republicans. Several states with Republican-dominated governments have sued the Biden administration for the program. The decision in these states lie with federally appointed judges, who may decide to put a hold on the loan forgiveness program or rule against it altogether.  

These court challenges leave the future of Biden’s debt forgiveness plan uncertain, but the administration has expressed its commitment to aiding as many Americans as possible. A spokesman left open the possibility of eventual student debt forgiveness for private loans, but for now, the program is limited to borrowers of federal loans.  

The processing of applications and forgiveness in loan debt is expected to occur quickly after borrowers complete their application. The application will remain open until December 2023, so there is plenty of time for eligible borrowers to take advantage of the debt forgiveness opportunity.