• Applications for student debt forgiveness will be available soon.
  • Borrowers should start preparing now to apply to ensure there’s no delay in getting debt relief.
  • Some 8 million people won’t have to do anything to get their debt canceled. Find out if you’re one.

On your marks, get set.  

Federal student debt forgiveness applications are about to drop, and you don’t want to be caught flat-footed. 

People who earned $125,000 or less (or $250,000 for households) in 2020 or 2021 are eligible for at least $10,000 in federal student loan debt forgiveness. Recipients of Pell Grants – usually awarded to low-income undergrads – can receive up to $20,000 in relief. 

Roughly 40 million borrowers are eligible for some student debt relief, with about 20 million expected to have their entire balance canceled, the White House says.

If you’re one of the lucky ones, here is what you should do to ensure some or all of your debt is forgiven before repayments restart in January.

When will the application for student debt forgiveness go live? 

The federal government has said early October. On Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said there was “no date set yet” for the release of the application form, but confirmed it would still be released in October.

“We’re trying to give relief to everyday Americans,” Jean-Pierre said. 

Ensure you’re qualified for student debt forgiveness 

Only borrowers with federal loans are eligible for relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households. Pell Grant recipients can get up to $20,000 canceled, and everyone else up to $10,000.

Public service workers (people working for federal, state, local, tribal government, military, or a non-profit organization) with at least 10 years of service (It doesn’t need to be consecutive.) may be eligible to have all their debt canceled.   

The government recently tweaked the requirements for the program to allow more borrowers to qualify for forgiveness, but it’s a limited time offer. Interested borrowers must apply before Oct. 31 if they want to take advantage of the temporary flexibility.  

Want student loan forgiveness?:Millions of jobs qualify for updated program — and yours might be one of them.

A parent with parent PLUS loans for their child may qualify for debt relief if they meet the income eligibility criteria. 

Private loans aren’t eligible for any forgiveness. 

How can I tell if I had a Pell Grant?  

Create an account (an FSA ID) at StudentAid.gov or log in if you already have one. Make sure your contact information is accurate. If you’ve forgotten your log in information, use the Forgot My Username or Forgot My Password links or go to the tips page for help. 

You’re not required to have an FSA ID to apply for forgiveness, but this can be extremely helpful. It’s where for example, you’ll find if you received a Pell Grant while in college. It will also show your loan servicer(s), types of loans you have and what you owe. (If you received a Pell Grant before 1994, that information won’t display in StudentAid.gov, but you’ll still receive the full benefit. The Department of Education has a record of every Pell Grant award.)