The application will require borrowers to give their social security number and certify that they have earned less than the income limits set for the relief. The forgiveness is limited to borrowers who earned less than $125,000 in 2020 or 2021, or less than $250,000 for married couples. According to the White House, nearly 95% of borrowers with federal student loans meet the program’s income requirements and are eligible for relief.
Applicants will also be required to certify that the information they submit is correct. Anyone who submits false information may be subject to penalties, including fines or imprisonment.
Applications will be reviewed by the Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid Office and matched against federal borrower records to confirm eligibility. People will not be able to benefit from the relief program unless they have a federal student loan registered with the department. The federal agency will contact individuals directly if they need more information to verify their income or eligibility, the White House said.
On Tuesday, the White House also said the form would be available in English and Spanish. People will be able to complete the form on mobile and desktop devices, giving those without access to computers a chance to apply, the White House said. A paper form will also be available during the application period, which opens later this month and runs until the end of 2023.
The Biden administration encourages eligible borrowers to rely on the Department of Education and its federal office of student assistance for information about when the application period is open.
Still, it’s unclear exactly when the app will be released.
The Biden administration initially said it hoped to make the form available in early October, but the release was delayed as the pardon plan faces multiple legal challenges.
On Wednesday, a federal judge in Missouri is set to hold a hearing in a lawsuit brought by six Republican-led states seeking to end the pardon program. The lawsuit alleges that the Biden administration overstepped its authority in creating the pardon program and that it could result in lower revenue for states or loan officers operating there.
The administration has insisted that a 2003 law gives it the power to write off debts.
President Biden announced in August that the administration would forgive up to $20,000 in federal student loans for borrowers who received Pell Grants and up to $10,000 for others with federal student debt in income limits set.