By Maria Carrasco, NASFAA Staff Reporter
The application to receive President Joe Biden's student loan cancellation opened on Friday evening for beta testing. Over the last several days, borrowers have been able to begin submitting their application ahead of the official launch, which is expected sometime later this month.
In an email, the Department of Education (ED) invited eligible borrowers to serve as testers and submit their applications to receive $10,000 to $20,000 of student loan cancellation. Applications submitted during this testing period will be processed when the site officially launches later this month, ED states.
"Soon, we'll be opening the online application with our official launch," ED wrote in an email to borrowers. "But we would like you to help us test the site by applying now during our beta test."
Borrowers who submit their applications during the testing period won't need to resubmit an application once the site officially launches, and should receive a confirmation email once their application is submitted.
During this beta testing period, the application will be available intermittently, according to ED. If a borrower tries to apply and the website is down, they can try again later — either during the testing period or when the site officially launches.
"Those borrowers will not need to reapply if they submit their application during the beta test, but no applications will be processed until the site officially launches later this month," an ED spokesperson told CNN. "This testing period will allow the Department to monitor site performance through real-world use, test the site ahead of the official application launch, refine processes, and uncover any possible bugs prior to official launch." This information was confirmed with NASFAA in a pre-launch briefing on Friday afternoon.
When the site does officially launch, it will remain open until Dec. 31, 2023. ED recommends borrowers submit their application by November 15 to receive relief before the pause on student loan repayments ends on Dec. 31, 2022.
"We encourage financial aid administrators to communicate with their current and past borrowers and encourage them to fill out the application as soon as possible, while also tempering any frustrations borrowers may feel if the form is unavailable at certain times," said NASFAA President and CEO Justin Draeger. "We've already seen multiple confirmed submissions from borrowers who said they completed the application in just a few minutes. If any borrowers miss the beta window, the Department has confirmed that their intent is to process any and all borrowers who submit their applications when processing begins."
Last week, the White House released a detailed preview of the application to receive student loan relief. The beta test application requests borrowers to submit their name, Social Security number, birthdate, phone number, and email address.
Borrowers will also need to sign an agreement that if requested, they'll provide proof of income to ED. If a borrower fails to provide proof of income by March 31, 2024 if requested, or if a borrower's income does not qualify for federal student loan debt relief, the relief will not be processed, ED states.
A confirmation email for the beta test states that ED will process the borrower's application. Unless the borrower hears back from ED or their loan servicer, they won't have to take any other action. ED will reach out to borrowers who need additional information to process their application, including to verify their income or their parents' income if they were a dependent student between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.
Link to the application: https://studentaid.gov/debt-relief/application
Publication Date: 10/16/2022
David S | 10/17/2022 1:17:54 PM
A friend and a staff member both reported that the application was working very well, which was good news. A sloppy rollout would've given forgiveness opponents something else to yell about. We're warning our students of the possibility that traffic could be high and they might have to try again later, but so far, so good (fingers crossed).
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