September 09, 2022

What Student Debt Relief Programs Mean for You

There’s big news in student loans these days! New programs and policies mean that many borrowers—including Lewis & Clark alumni, faculty, and staff may be eligible to have some of their student debt forgiven.

Biden-Harris Student Debt Relief

Federal Student Aid and the Biden-Harris Administration have announced loan forgiveness plans of up to $20,000 for prior Pell Grant recipients and up to $10,000 for all other loan borrowers. To be eligible, the borrower’s annual income must be below $125,000 (individuals) and $250,000 (married couples/heads of household). If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data— or if you don’t know if the U.S. Department of Education has your income data—the government will launch a simple application in the coming weeks; sign up to be notified when the application launches. You can view your loan balances and check your Pell Grant status by logging into your Federal Student Aid account. Note that if you received a Pell Grant prior to 1994, it may not show up in your online account, but the U.S. Department of Education will be able to verify your status and ensure that you receive the correct level of debt relief. The Lewis & Clark financial aid office can only confirm Pell Grant status for current students.

Please visit The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained for details and the most up-to-date information.


Expanded Access to Public Service Loan Forgiveness

If you are employed by a US Federal, state, local, or tribal government, or not-for-profit organization (like Lewis & Clark!), you might be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. The PSLF program forgives the remaining balance on your Federal Direct Loans after you have made 120 qualifying monthly payments under a qualifying repayment plan while working full-time for a qualifying employer.

Until October 31, 2022 the government is waiving some of the requirements of the program to allow more people to qualify for PSLF even if they made payments under a previously non-qualifying repayment plan or didn’t meet specified other parts of the PSLF program. As you can imagine, there are all kinds of details about this. Please visit the US Department of Education’s PSLF Waiver site for more details. Even though federal student loan payments have been paused through December 31, 2022, now is the time to look into whether or not you would qualify for the PSLF Program through these time-limited waivers.