Students holding signs about loan forgiveness
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Student Loan Forgiveness Portal Is Open, Kind Of — Should You Wait to Apply?

Rachel Curry - Author
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Oct. 17 2022, Updated 12:01 p.m. ET

The White House has launched the long-awaited student loan forgiveness portal — kind of. It’s a beta version, so the platform may still have some kinks to work out.

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Does that mean you should wait to apply? It depends. For some, applying now is the best option. For others, it may be okay to wait to complete your student loan forgiveness application. So, how do you know which camp you fall into? Keep reading to find out!

There are pros and cons to waiting to apply for student loan forgiveness.

A new beta version of the student loan forgiveness platform is now available to eligible student loan holders.

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A beta version is like a trial run of an early version of software, typically made available to a select group of individuals to test its efficacy. However, the U.S. government can’t fairly form a private trial group, so they’ve launched the beta version to anyone interested in testing it out.

Can anyone apply for student loan forgiveness using the beta version?

At this point, the Education Department (ED) hasn't restricted the use of its beta version. Rather, using the term “beta version” is likely a way for the government to absolve responsibility for any errors that may occur in the software’s launch.

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It could also be a way to quell overuse at the launch and avoid crashing the site (if the Federal Student Aid, or FSA, website is known for anything, it’s crashing when everyone and their cousins want to enter the site).

student loan forgiveness apply
Source: Getty Images
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Should eligible student loan borrowers wait to apply?

Because the student loan forgiveness program offers $10,000–$20,000 in forgiveness for eligible borrowers, waiting a bit won’t put you at risk of losing out on funds. Plus, your income cap is based on the previous year’s income, so you don’t have to worry about earning too much over the remaining year. The money won’t get used up before you can get to it because you already have a slot in the program.

Early applicants will likely get their loans forgiven sooner (though ED has made clear no funds will be released until Oct. 23 or later). However, the deadline to apply isn't until Dec. 31, 2023. This means you have more than a year to apply.

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With that in mind, student loan repayments restart after a pandemic-long pause at the beginning of 2023, so borrowers will benefit from forgiveness prior to the restart of payments. Even if you still owe money after the moratorium ends, reducing the principal amount will lower your interest payments, so it’s financially savvy to apply for student loan forgiveness in Q4 2022.

The gist: Apply for student loan forgiveness before the end of the year if you can.

You don’t have to apply just yet, but doing so before the end of the year would be financially beneficial for most student loan borrowers. Fortunately, the application on the FSA website doesn’t require your FSA ID, any tax documents, or loan documents, so it’s a streamlined process that you can complete on the fly.

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