About Student Loan Debt Relief

Information on this page updated as of September 22, 2022

In response to President Biden’s announcement on August 24, 2022, regarding student loan debt cancellation, the UMFK Office of Student Financial Aid has compiled the following information for our current students and alumni. We expect the U.S. Department of Education to release additional information and details on the student loan debt relief program in the coming weeks. As additional information is released, please watch for more communications from our office.

Information for Current Students

What Is Happening

U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. The relief includes current students and borrowers who have federally held undergraduate, graduate, and Parent PLUS loans where the first disbursement was on or before June 30, 2022.

Who Is Eligible

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 were a dependent student during the 2021-2022 academic year, this income cap will be based on your parents’ income.

How Much Am I Eligible to Receive

The amount of loan cancellation you are eligible for will depend on the total amount of federal loan debt you have borrowed, as well as if you received a Federal Pell Grant during your time in college. To obtain your federal student loan balance information, as well as information regarding past Federal Pell Grant awards, please visit the Federal Student Aid website. Please note: if you received a Federal Pell Grant prior to 1994, that information won’t display on studentaid.gov, but you will still be eligible to receive the $20,000 benefit.

The Department of Education has a complete record of all students who ever received a Pell Grant, as such, when you submit an application for loan cancellation, you will not be required to provide proof or take any additional action to verify your receipt of a Federal Pell Grant.

  1. If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.
  2. If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college but still meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation.
  3. Your relief is capped at the amount of your outstanding federal student loan debt (up to $10,000 or $20,000 if eligible) and will not be applied to any current or past due account balances at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

What Types of Loans Are Eligible for Cancellation

Below are the types of federal student loans that are eligible for cancellation (provided that they have an outstanding balance as of June 30, 2022):

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program Loans
    • Subsidized loans
    • Unsubsidized loans
    • Parent PLUS loans
    • Graduate PLUS loans
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by ED or in default at a guaranty agency
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program loans held by ED
  • Defaulted loans (includes ED-held or commercially serviced Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, Parent PLUS, and Graduate PLUS; and Perkins loans held by ED)
  • Consolidation loans, as long as all of the loans that were consolidated were first disbursed on or before June 30, 2022

You can determine what types of federal loans you have by logging onto the Federal Student Aid website and following the below steps:

  1. Select My Aid in the dropdown menu under your name
  2. Navigate to the Loan Breakdown section to see a list of each loan you received
  3. Expand the section by clicking View Loans, then select the View Loan Details arrow next to a loan
    1. Direct loans begin with “Direct
    2. Federal Family Educational Loan Program loans begin with “FFEL
    3. Perkins Loans contain the word “Perkins
    4. If the servicer for any FFEL or Perkins Loans you have begins with “Dept. of Ed” or “Default Management Collection System,” then the loan is federally managed/held by the Department of Education

What Do You Need to Do

Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically because relevant income data is already available to the U.S. Department of Education – and so you will not have to complete any further steps to receive the loan cancellation.

If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application which will be available by early October.

When Is It Happening

  • October 2022 – If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application. You have until December 31, 2023, to apply.
  • 4-6 weeks – Once the application is completed, you can expect relief within 4-6 weeks.

What If I Made Voluntary Payments During the Pandemic

Borrowers who made voluntary payments during the pandemic will be eligible to receive a refund of payments if:

  • You successfully apply for and receive debt relief under the Debt Relief Plan AND
  • Your voluntary payments during the payment pause brought your balance below the maximum debt relief amount you’re eligible to receive but did not pay off your loan in full.

Visit the Federal Student Aid One-Time Student Loan Debt Relief page for additional information on if you may qualify for a refund on voluntary payments made during the pandemic.

Information for UMFK Alumni

What Is Happening

  1. U.S. Department of Education will provide up to $20,000 in debt cancellation to Pell Grant recipients with loans held by the Department of Education and up to $10,000 in debt cancellation to non-Pell Grant recipients. The relief includes current students and borrowers who have federally-held undergraduate, graduate, and Parent PLUS loans where the first disbursement was on or before June 30, 2022.
  2. To ensure a smooth transition to repayment and prevent unnecessary defaults, the Biden-Harris Administration will extend the pause a final time through December 31, 2022, with payments resuming in January 2023.

Who Is Eligible for Federal Student Loan 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 were a dependent student during the 2021-2022 academic year, this income cap will be based on your parents’ income.

How Much Am I Eligible to Receive

The amount of loan cancellation you are eligible for will depend on the total amount of federal loan debt you have borrowed, as well as if you received a Federal Pell Grant during your time in college. To obtain your federal student loan balance information, as well as information regarding past Federal Pell Grant awards, please visit the Federal Student Aid website. Please note: if you received a Federal Pell Grant prior to 1994, that information won’t display on studentaid.gov, but you will still be eligible to receive the $20,000 benefit.

The Department of Education has a complete record of all students who ever received a Pell Grant, as such, when you submit an application for loan cancellation, you will not be required to provide proof or take any additional action to verify your receipt of a Federal Pell Grant.

  1. If you received a Pell Grant in college and meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.
  2. If you did not receive a Pell Grant in college but still meet the income threshold, you will be eligible for up to $10,000 in debt cancellation.
  3. Your relief is capped at the amount of your outstanding federal student loan debt (up to $10,000 or $20,000 if eligible) and will not be applied to any current or past due account balances at the University of Maine at Fort Kent.

What Types of Loans Are Eligible for Cancellation

Below are the types of federal student loans that are eligible for cancellation (provided that they have an outstanding balance as of June 30, 2022):

  • William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program Loans
    • Subsidized loans
    • Unsubsidized loans
    • Parent PLUS loans
    • Graduate PLUS loans
  • Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program loans held by ED or in default at a guaranty agency
  • Federal Perkins Loan Program loans held by ED
  • Defaulted loans (includes ED-held or commercially serviced Subsidized Stafford, Unsubsidized Stafford, Parent PLUS, and Graduate PLUS; and Perkins loans held by ED)
  • Consolidation loans, as long as all of the loans that were consolidated were first disbursed on or before June 30, 2022

You can determine what types of federal loans you have by logging onto the Federal Student Aid website and following the below steps:

  1. Select My Aid in the dropdown menu under your name
  2. Navigate to the Loan Breakdown section to see a list of each loan you received
  3. Expand the section by clicking View Loans, then select the View Loan Details arrow next to a loan
    1. Direct loans begin with “Direct
    2. Federal Family Educational Loan Program loans begin with “FFEL
    3. Perkins Loans contain the word “Perkins
    4. If the servicer for any FFEL or Perkins Loans you have begins with “Dept. of Ed” or “Default Management Collection System,” then the loan is federally managed/held by the Department of Education

What Do You Need to Do

Nearly 8 million borrowers may be eligible to receive relief automatically because relevant income data is already available to the U.S. Department of Education – and so you will not have to complete any further steps to receive the loan cancellation.

If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application which will be available by early October.

When Is It Happening

  • October 2022 – If the U.S. Department of Education doesn’t have your income data, the Administration will launch a simple application. You have until December 31, 2023, to apply.
  • 4-6 weeks – Once the application is completed, you can expect relief within 4-6 weeks.
  • November 15, 2022 – Borrowers are advised to apply before this date in order to receive relief before the payment pause expires on December 31, 2022.
  • The Department of Education will continue to process applications as they are received, even after the pause expires on December 31, 2022. The final deadline to apply for this relief is December 31, 2023.

What If I Made Voluntary Payments During the Pandemic

Borrowers who made voluntary payments during the pandemic will be eligible to receive a refund of payments if:

  • You successfully apply for and receive debt relief under the Debt Relief Plan AND
  • Your voluntary payments during the payment pause brought your balance below the maximum debt relief amount you’re eligible to receive but did not pay off your loan in full.

Visit the Federal Student Aid One-Time Student Loan Debt Relief page for additional information on if you may qualify for a refund on voluntary payments made during the pandemic.

Additional Resources