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Who can apply for federal student loan relief?

As of Monday, people can now officially apply for the federal government's help to pay off their student loans, but it is still unknown when they'll be seeing relief

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Biden Administration has rolled out a student loan forgiveness plan that claims to offer thousands of dollars in relief to eligible borrowers.

As of Monday, student loan borrowers can officially apply for the federal government's help to pay off their student loans.

"I'm going to officially launch this new app- new application site at 'student aid.gov'," President Biden said.

Biden's announcement came about two months after he first presented his plan to provide student loan debt relief to middle-class Americans.

The application itself only takes a few minutes to complete, but the details of who can apply are a bit more complicated.

The financial aid office at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has already begun to receive calls regarding the application and student loan relief. 

"Am I eligible? That is the really the only question we get," Jonothan Coleman, with Financial Aid and Scholarships at UALR said.

So far, 8 million Americans have already applied for up to $10,000 in student debt for those that earn less than $125,000 and up to $20,000 for those who are Pell-Grant recipients.

Coleman explained that eligible applicants can "go to studentaid.gov, and fill out the short application. It's really short, it shouldn't take anybody more than five questions."

Even though the application deadline isn't until December 31, 2023, many Arkansans we spoke to have already been on board.

Some borrowers were surprised at just how short the application was and said, "A little part of me was like, this can't just be all you have to do."

Another borrower added, "This is gonna take a huge weight off my shoulders. I really need it. This is coming in right on time."

And that's not the only form of aid that's coming to Arkansas, the Department of Education said that they launched a new scholarship application management website earlier this month, (SAMS), to help better connect students with scholarships and grants.

Alisha Lewis with the Arkansas Division of Higher Education added, "What we do is we manage all of the statewide scholarships that are for students that attend any you know, university or college in the state of Arkansas."

Since its launch on October 3rd, SAMS has seen thousands of applicants.

All organizers of these education cost relief plans said they aim to make higher education more accessible.

"It means everything to me because it also gives me another opportunity to further my education. If I decide to," a federal student loan relief applicant shared.

Not everyone supports Biden's loan relief plan— Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is leading six Republican-led states in one lawsuit to block it.

The Arkansas Center for Legal Services explained that while things could still change, the lawsuit shouldn't have a big impact on the individual borrower as much as it would on the plan on an administrative level.

Coleman said that he encourages everyone to apply early and added that it could be a few months between applying for the relief, and actually seeing the difference in your loan payments.


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