The U.S. Department of Education is moving funny! They recently changed its guidance around who qualifies for President Joe Biden’s student debt relief plan. According to NPR, the change is regarding borrowers who took out federal student loans several years ago. This includes Perkins loans and Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL).
Reports state FFEL department’s website advised borrowers that they could consolidate these loans into federal Direct Loans and thereby qualify for relief under Biden’s debt cancellation program. However, the department quietly changed that language. The current guidance states, “As of Sept. 29, 2022, borrowers with federal student loans not held by ED cannot obtain one-time debt relief by consolidating those loans into Direct Loans.”
This change can potentially affect roughly 800,000 borrowers. At this time, it’s unclear why the department reversed its decision to consolidate FFEL borrowers with commercially-held loans and then qualify for debt relief.
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A department spokesperson released a statement to NPR, saying,
“Our goal is to provide relief to as many eligible borrowers as quickly and easily as possible, and this will allow us to achieve that goal while we continue to explore additional legally-available options to provide relief to borrowers with privately owned FFEL loans and Perkins loans, including whether FFEL borrowers could receive one-time debt relief without needing to consolidate.” It continued, “Borrowers with privately held federal student loans who applied to consolidate their loans into Direct Loans before September 29, 2022 will obtain one-time debt relief. The FFEL program is now defunct and only a small percentage of borrowers have FFEL loans.”
Many of the Roommates felt like President Biden canceling debt was too good to be true. One commented mentioning Ice Spice’s song ‘Munch,” writing, “Joe ‘Y’all thought I was feeling y’all.'” Roommates, have you checked to see if your loans will be forgiven?