Yesterday (Aug 24, 2022), a Student Loan relief plan was announced that is estimated to apply to 8 million people in the US. My wife still has some student that may be eligible. My initial impression is that we (and millions of others) need to ask ourselves the following questions:

  1. How do I determine if any of our student loans are eligible?
  2. How do I determine if we are eligible?
  3. If 1 and 2 are met, how do we receive the relief?


Question 1 is pretty straight forward, since only federal student loans are eligible. So how do we determine if any of our loans are federal loans?

Question 2 is mostly answered but lacks a few details:

Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples)

  • What is the definition of "income"? For example, is it before or after Traditional 401k and/or IRA contributions, or the standard deduction? Is it AGI? (Perhaps specifying the line number of a tax return that should be used would be simplest.)
  • From what I can tell so far the income is determined by your income in 2020 and/or 2021. If we were under the limit one year but over another year are we still eligible?

If we end up being eligible, as a non Pell Grant recipient, it appears we could receive up to $10k:

Borrowers who meet those income standards but did not receive a Pell Grant in college can receive up to $10,000 in loan relief.

In our case my wife has more than $10k total remaining debt, but it is split up in multiple banks, each of which is less than $10k.

Once eligibility is determined, what is the process for receiving the debt cancellation?

My current assumption is that what matters is the total loan amount you have across all student loans, instead of the amount per bank. If that's correct then I don't think this will apply to us specifically, but I believe it will be helpful to others, so hypothetically:

  1. If you are eligible and your total debt is less than the maximum forgivable amount, would it be wise to immediately stop making payments?
  • Disclaimer: as I wrote this question (and re-wrote it many times), I worried that some people may consider this to have too many questions rolled up into one, and might claim it "needs more focus". I have already considered this, and decided that these questions are so closely intertwined that it would be less helpful to ask them individually. If the question were simply, "Assuming I'm eligible, what do I have to do?" a great answer would likely answer the other questions anyway. Therefore, I'm intending to provoke great answers, but I certainly encourage valuable partial answers too.
    – TTT
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 5:43
  • Note: I'm not at all interested in discussing the political side of this decision.😉
    – TTT
    Commented Aug 25, 2022 at 6:12

1 Answer 1


There are no answers to any of these questions just yet. Give it some time.

The way it works is like this:

  1. The President makes an announcement of some plan, in this case a debt relief for Federal student loans under some conditions.

  2. That then needs to be legislated in some way: it can be an act of Congress, or if the executive branch has the authority - a Presidential executive order.

  3. The agencies responsible for administering the program write and publish the rules on how the program will be administered. These proposed rules are published in the Federal Register, and then go through a review and comment process (30-90 days). After that, they get finalized and published as final rules in the Federal Register and become part of the CFR (Code of Federal Regulations, essentially the government's interpretation of all the laws).

  4. The agencies then start applying the rules, and the program actually starts working.

In this case we're still at step 1. So far, to the best of my knowledge, there was no legislative action or Presidential action on the matter (at least as of writing this answer, nothing is here).

The announcement however does link to this page of the StudentAid.Gov website, that describes itself as:

This page is a resource to answer those questions and more. There will be more details announced in the coming weeks. To be notified when the process has officially opened, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page.

To your last question, the White House announcement has this to say:

The Department of Education will work quickly and efficiently to set up a simple application process for borrowers to claim relief. The application will be available no later than when the pause on federal student loan repayments terminates at the end of the year

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