What Nurses Should Know About Biden’s Student Debt Forgiveness Plan

Nina Chamlou
Updated December 15, 2022
    President Biden announced a plan to reduce student debt for tens of millions of Americans. Read on to find out how this plan impacts nurses.
    Featured ImageCredit: The Washington Post via Getty Im

    Update: Federal Courts Block Student Loan Cancellation Program

    The Biden administration’s one-time student loan cancellation program is blocked by federal courts. The administration has appealed to the Supreme Court, which will determine if students can claim their debt relief in 2023.

    Until then, millions of borrowers are left without clear expectations. The U.S. Department of Education will hold applications of anyone who has already applied for relief. Otherwise, the ED is not accepting applications at this time. To stay updated, you can subscribe for updates from the ED.

    • The Biden administration announced a plan to reduce debt for Americans with federal student loans. The beta application for federal student loan forgiveness is live.
    • Those making less than $125,000 per year who meet certain qualifications are now eligible for $10,000 – 20,000 in loan forgiveness.
    • Many nurses and other healthcare workers qualify for debt relief and reduced monthly payments.

    In August, President Biden announced a multi-faceted plan to reduce student debt that many nurses and healthcare workers will directly benefit from. Most notably,the debt forgiveness plan forgives $10,000 each for borrowers who earn less than $125,000 per year. Pell Grant recipients are eligible for $20,000 of student loan relief.

    The Biden administration is also proposing changes to income-driven repayment plans. Borrowers will pay no more than 5% of their monthly income toward undergraduate loans — a decrease from the 10% limit.

    This debt forgiveness plan drastically reduces monthly payments for many nurses. For example, a nurse making $77,000 a year could reduce their monthly payment on their undergraduate loan from about $300 per month to about $60 a month, according to the Department of Education (ED).

    Additionally, the Biden administration plans to extend the pause on federal student loan repayment one final time until the end of the year (Dec. 31, 2022.)

    Do I Qualify For Student Debt Forgiveness?

    The type of loan you have determines if you qualify for debt forgiveness. The following loans are eligible for debt forgiveness:

    • Direct subsidized and unsubsidized federal student loans
    • Direct Stafford Loans
    • Parent Plus Loans
    • Grad Loans

    It is not yet clear if borrowers with commercially held Federal Family Education (FFEL) loans qualify for Biden student loan forgiveness.

    The plan provides relief for about 43 million borrowers and cancels the full balances for almost half those borrowers. This alleviates financial pressure from the majority of federal student loan-holders making under $125,000.

    When Will Student Debt Forgiveness Come Into Effect?

    The exact timeline is still unclear. Ahead of the federal student loan repayment pause ending on December 31, Federal Student Aid released the beta version of its application on October 14.

    The online application takes about five minutes to complete, and you don’t need to log in or provide any documents. A paper version of the form will be available for those who can’t apply online. You will have until December 2023 to apply.

    The beta form does not require tax information to verify income. However, it asks borrowers to affirm that they meet the income requirement for either 2020 or 2021. The application also states that applicants should be prepared to provide proof of income by March 31, 2024, if requested.

    The Department of Education (ED) expects to release the official application in the coming weeks. The beta form will help stress-test the application process before it’s officially available.

    Those who fill out the beta form will not need to re-submit their information once the official application is live.

    Borrowers can sign up for notifications when new information comes out.

    Nurses With Pell Grant Receive Higher Debt Relief

    Pell Grant recipients will be eligible for double the relief. The ED estimates that about 27 million borrowers will be eligible to receive up to $20,000.

    Pell Grant holders often have exceptional financial circumstances. Almost all of them come from families that earn less than $60,000 per year.

    If you are unsure if you received a Pell Grant, you can check your status by visiting studentaid.gov and logging into your account with your credentials.

    Student Debt Forgiveness FAQ

    Where do I apply for student debt forgiveness?

    The beta version of the federal student loan debt relief application is live. Those who fill out the beta form will not need to re-submit their information once the official application is live.

    Apply Here

    What are the next steps after I apply?

    The U.S. Department of Education (ED) will review your application, confirm eligibility, and work to secure your relief with your loan servicer. You don’t have to take any further action after applying unless contacted directly.

    If additional information is needed to process your application, such as verification of income or loan records, the ED will contact you by email.

    The ED will update you when your application is approved, and your debt relief is processed. You will then receive updates from your loan provider on any outstanding balance and updated monthly payments if you still have a balance owed.

    How do I prove that I qualify?

    You should not need to prove that you qualify. The ED will be able to determine who received a qualifying loan or grant.

    When will payments for the outstanding balance restart?

    If you receive debt forgiveness from these new changes, your new balance will calculate and your revised payments will be reinstated at the beginning of 2023.