On Friday night, hours after this story was published, a federal appeals court granted a stay that temporarily blocks the White House's student loan forgiveness plan, preventing it from canceling any debt until certain legal developments are resolved.
The Biden administration had previously been scheduled to start processing applications this weekend.
Applied for student loan forgiveness and now wondering what’s next? You’re not alone.
The Biden administration said more than 12 million borrowers have already requested up to $20,000 in student loan forgiveness through the recently opened application portal on studentaid.gov. So far, not much has happened to those applications. The Education Department has yet to start processing them.
That’s slated to change this weekend. In a recent court filing, the White House indicated it'd begin the process of discharging student debt on Sunday.
Don't get too excited — that doesn’t mean you will see your loan balances immediately drop to zero. Already, the timeline for student loan forgiveness has been pushed back due to ongoing legal challenges the Biden administration faces over its broad forgiveness plan. The situation keeps changing, but, barring further delays, these key dates can give you an idea of what to expect in the weeks ahead.
Key dates to know for student loan forgiveness
- Oct. 23: The Education Department is set to begin processing applications. Once your application is approved, it may take up to six more weeks for your loan balance to reflect the forgiven amount.
- Nov. 14: Approximately 8 million borrowers are eligible for automatic forgiveness — meaning they won’t even have to apply in order to get their loans discharged. The Education Department will start automatically processing forgiveness for these folks on Nov. 14. Those who want to opt out of automatic forgiveness have until Nov. 14 to do so; they must contact one of their loan servicers by this date to deny the benefit.
- Nov. 15: The vast majority of borrowers will want to apply for forgiveness by mid-November. Given that forgiveness will take several weeks, the Education Department has recommended people get their applications in around this date to ensure their loans are discharged before payments restart in 2023.
- Dec. 4: Assuming the Education Department’s six-week estimation of forgiveness holds true, many borrowers who applied for forgiveness around Oct. 23 should begin to see their loan balances drop during this week.
- Dec. 11: Throughout this week, student loan servicers should begin reaching out to borrowers with remaining loan balances to remind them that their payments will be restarting in 2023.
- Jan. 1, 2023: In January, federal student loan payments will restart after having been suspended seven times since March 2020 due to the pandemic. The exact loan payment due date may vary by servicer, but on this day, the federal payment pause is officially scheduled to end.
- Dec. 31, 2023: The student loan forgiveness application closes. Federal student loan borrowers only have until the end of 2023 to apply for one-time forgiveness through the Biden administration’s program. There are no plans for broad student loan forgiveness in the future.