In August 2022, the Biden administration announced it would cancel up to $20,000 of federal student loans for qualifying individuals. 

The student loan payment pause is extended until the U.S. Department of Education is permitted to implement the debt relief program or the litigation is resolved. Payments will restart 60 days later. If the debt relief program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023 — payments will resume 60 days after that. We will notify borrowers before payments restart.

The Whitman College Office of Financial Aid has created this FAQ as a guide for students and graduates interested in learning more about the federal debt relief program.

Do I qualify for debt forgiveness? 

At this time, we know that loan forgiveness will apply to current students and borrowers who have federally-held undergraduate, graduate and Parent PLUS loans where the first disbursement was on or before June 30, 2022. Only those whose annual  income is below $125,000 (or $250,000 for married couples or heads of households) will qualify. It is our understanding that for borrowers who were dependent students during the 2021-22 academic year, eligibility for relief will be based on their parents’ income. 

What types of debt qualify for cancellation?

Only federal student loan debt, not private loans, are eligible. In addition, anyone employed by nonprofits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal or local government may be eligible for total federalloan forgiveness through Public Service Loan Forgiveness

How much debt cancellation will I receive? 

Borrowers who are Pell Grant recipients may receive up to $20,000 in debt cancellation, while those who are not Pell Grant recipients may receive up to $10,000. To view your federal student loan history and confirm whether you have received a Pell Grant, log on here using your FSA ID and password. More information about Pell Grants and loan forgiveness is available here.

Do I only qualify if I completed my degree?  

No, the debt relief is not contingent on having finished your degree. 

Will I owe federal taxes on canceled debt? 

No. 

Will I owe state taxes on canceled debt?

Possibly, depending on where you live. 

How do I apply for debt cancellation and when is the deadline to apply?

Courts have issued orders blocking our student debt relief program. As a result, at this time, we are not accepting applications. We are seeking to overturn those orders. If you’ve already applied, we’ll hold your application. Subscribe and check back here for updates. We will post information as soon as further updates are available.

More Information on Federal Student Aid