Charles Taylor, Student Writer

Recently, US President Joe Biden announced a program to help both current and former college students repay any outstanding student loans through a program called “The Student Loan Debt Forgiveness Program.” President Biden made his announcement on the program, announcing many new details on how the historic plan will work including who qualifies for it and when borrowers may see their balances reduced.

In an interview with Ms. JoEllen R. Price, the Executive Director of Financial Aid at Houston Community College, I asked her questions about how the recent decision made by President Biden will affect both current and former HCC students.

Charles: Your institution was shut down so I could not graduate, but I have student loans to repay. How can I get my loans forgiven?

JoEllen: Any student who was a student at an institution that was closed can have their loans canceled, provided that the student can produce any kind of documentation that the institution was closed during the time period the student was enrolled.

Charles: How do you know if you are eligible for loan forgiveness? ”

JoEllen: You can check to see if you are eligible through:

  1. The official website of the U.S. Department of Education, by completing any necessary information in assisting any student who may be interested in enrolling in the program, including qualifications.
  2. Contact the student loan service provider company where the was first originally obtained and signed.
  3. Contact the current or former institution’s financial aid office and request to speak with a representative for assistance.

Charles: Is it possible to have my student loans forgiven or repaid?

JoEllen: For a single person who makes under $125,000.00 a year, you may qualify to have up to $10,000.00 on your loan amount canceled at this current time. For married couples making under $250,000.00 a year, the same rules apply. For students receiving Pell Grants Scholarships, they can have up to $20,000.00 canceled during the forgiveness period. If accepted into the program, your loan forgiveness will extend until December 31, 2022, with loan repayment schedules returning back to normal operations in January 2023. If you are currently enrolled as a student or once enrolled taking 6 college credit hours or more, then you may qualify for the program once completing the application process. Any student who is currently enrolled or was once enrolled taking less than 6 college credit hours will not qualify.

Ms. Price further stated that the federal government has been preparing for this situation for quite some time. Some students may have to fill out and complete the application process while some may not have to. Other students may have to send in a signed copy of their recent income tax information for application processing.

Interested students can enroll in the program by October 30 and check the status of their application, including getting any notifications and updates from the U.S. Department of Education.

An official announcement regarding the student loan debt forgiveness program from The HCC Financial Aid office will be forthcoming via social media and email.