The Biden-Harris Administration’s Student Debt Relief Plan Explained

The Supreme Court issued a decision blocking us from moving forward with our one-time student debt relief plan. The information below is not up to date.

Visit StudentAid.gov/debtrelief to learn more about the actions President Biden announced following the decision and find out how this decision impacts you.

What the program means for you, and what comes next  

Get details about one-time student loan debt relief >

President Biden, Vice President Harris, and the U.S. Department of Education have announced a three-part plan to help working and middle-class federal student loan borrowers transition back to regular payment as pandemic-related support expires. This plan includes loan forgiveness of up to $20,000. Many borrowers and families may be asking themselves “what do I have to do to claim this relief?” This page is a resource to answer those questions and more. To receive notifications about the process, sign up at the Department of Education subscription page. You’ll have until Dec. 31, 2023 to apply.

The Biden Administration’s Student Loan Debt Relief Plan

Part 1. Final extension of the student loan repayment pause

Due to the economic challenges created by the pandemic, the Biden-Harris Administration has extended the student loan repayment pause a number of times. Because of this, no one with a federally held loan has had to pay a single dollar in loan payments since President Biden took office.

The Biden-Harris Administration’s one-time student debt relief plan is necessary to address the financial harms of the pandemic, provide borrowers with a smooth transition back to repayment, and help borrowers at highest risk of delinquency or default once payments resume.

Congress recently passed a law preventing further extensions of the payment pause. Student loan interest will resume starting on Sept. 1, 2023, and payments will be due starting in October. We will notify borrowers well before payments restart.

Prepare for Student Loan Payments To Restart

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to do anything to extend my student loan pause?

  • No. The extended pause will occur automatically.  

Part 2. Providing targeted debt relief to low- and middle-income families

To smooth the transition back to repayment and help borrowers at highest risk of delinquencies or default once payments resume, the U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt relief to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt relief to non-Pell Grant recipients. Borrowers are eligible for this relief if their individual income is less than $125,000 or $250,000 for households. Get details about one-time student loan debt relief.

In addition, borrowers who are employed by nonprofits, the military, or federal, state, Tribal, or local government may be eligible to have all of their student loans forgiven through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. For more information on eligibility and requirements, go to PSLF.gov. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if I am eligible for debt relief? 

  • To be eligible, your annual income must have fallen below $125,000 (for individuals) or $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households). 
  • If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt relief. 
  • If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt relief.  

What does the “up to” in “up to $20,000” or “up to $10,000” mean? 

  • Your relief is capped at the amount of your outstanding debt.
  • For example: If you are eligible for $20,000 in debt relief, but have a balance of $15,000 remaining, you will only receive $15,000 in relief.  

What is the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?

  • The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program forgives the remaining balance on your federal student loans after 120 payments working full time for federal, state, Tribal, or local government; the military; or a qualifying non-profit. Learn more about PSLF and apply.
  • Temporary changes, which ended on Oct. 31, 2022, provided flexibility that made it easier to receive forgiveness by allowing borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.
  • A borrower who missed the limited PSLF waiver deadline has one more chance to have their payment count corrected. Learn more about the opportunity for the one-time account adjustment.

Visit the one-time student loan debt relief page for more information. 

Part 3. Make the student loan system more manageable for current and future borrowers

Income-based repayment plans have long existed within the U.S. Department of Education. However, the Biden-Harris Administration proposed a rule to create a new income-driven repayment plan that will substantially reduce future monthly payments for lower- and middle-income borrowers.

The draft rule would:

  • Require borrowers to pay no more than 5% of their discretionary income monthly on undergraduate loans. This is down from the 10% available under the most recent income-driven repayment plan.
  • Raise the amount of income that is considered non-discretionary income and therefore is protected from repayment, guaranteeing that no borrower earning under 225% of the federal poverty level—about the annual equivalent of a $15 minimum wage for a single borrower—will have to make a monthly payment.
  • Forgive loan balances after 10 years of payments, instead of 20 years, for borrowers with loan balances of $12,000 or less.
  • Cover the borrower’s unpaid monthly interest, so that unlike other existing income-driven repayment plans, no borrower’s loan balance will grow as long as they make their monthly payments—even when that monthly payment is $0 because their income is low. 

The Biden-Harris Administration is working to quickly implement improvements to student loans. Check back to this page for updates on progress. If you’d like to be the first to know, sign up for email updates from the U.S. Department of Education.

Beware of Scams

You might be contacted by a company saying they will help you get loan discharge, forgiveness, cancellation, or debt relief for a fee. You never have to pay for help with your federal student aid. Make sure you work only with ED and our loan servicers, and never reveal your personal information or account password to anyone.

Our emails to borrowers come from noreply@studentaid.gov, noreply@debtrelief.studentaid.gov, and ed.gov@public.govdelivery.com. You can report scam attempts to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 1-877-382-4357 or by visiting reportfraud.ftc.gov.

Leave a Comment