How UNCG students can qualify for the federal student debt forgiveness program

Sydney Thompson

Senior Staff Writer

In October 2022, applications will open for President Biden’s student debt forgiveness plan. This plan was announced Aug. 24 and promises to forgive up to $20,000 for those who are eligible and who apply through the proper channels. 

According to a survey conducted by financial coaching company Student Loan Planner, 53 percent of high-debt student loan borrowers experience depression, nine in 10 borrowers experienced significant anxiety and one in 15 of these borrowers contemplated suicide because of their student debts. This is a recognized stressor to college students. 

College debt is also a recognized strain on the economy. According to the Education Data Initiative, between 2019 and 2020, the student debt grew 3.6% while the economy shrank. Student debt is believed to hinder students’ growth and ability to finance their lives after college, leaving an overall negative impact on the economy. 

All of these factors surrounding student debt makes Biden’s announcement historic and significant to said students. 

However, not every college student is eligible for the full amount, and several conditions must be met. 

The first condition is that the debt must be from federal loans, not private. The amount that can be forgiven is dependent on the income and circumstances of the student. Students whose households make less than $125,000 as the yearly income are eligible to have $10,000 of their student debt forgiven. Students who were eligible for Pell Grants can apply to have up to $20,000 of student debt forgiven. 

These can also apply to parents who helped students take out Parent Loans and Parent Plus Loans. Graduate students and alumni are also eligible as long as they fit the financial criteria. 

Students will have to apply on the Department of Education’s website if the Department of Education does not already have the income information of the student. If they do have the information and the student already fits the criteria, the debt will be automatically forgiven. 

By subscribing to the Department of Education’s newsletter here (https://www.ed.gov/subscriptions), students can be notified when the application portal opens. 

After applications are submitted, applicants will be notified of the acceptance or rejection in 4-6 weeks. From there, the remaining debt any applicants may have will be recalculated to adjust payment plans to be more manageable and appropriate for the new amount.

The deadline for the application will be Dec. 31, 2022. The Department of Education recommends that students apply by Nov. 15 to ensure the application goes through in a timely manner. 

According to the Tax Foundation, students should be aware that they are likely to pay taxes on their forgiven debt in the upcoming tax year. 

“Although North Carolina conforms to a post-ARPA version of the Internal Revenue Code, its conformity statute contains an add-back which taxes student loan debt forgiveness despite the federal change,” said Tax Foundation writer Jared Walczak. 

Students should consult with accountants or accounting services to see how these changes will affect their state income tax. Some sites offer free services to students and others who have relatively simple tax returns on the state and federal level. If students at UNCG have any questions about their eligibility for loan forgiveness or other applicable programs, they should contact the Office of Financial Aid. The Office of Financial Aid can be contacted at finaid@uncg.edu by email and at (336)-334-5702 by phone. Appointments can also be made using Starfish.



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