In the coming days, millions of student loan borrowers will be able to apply for up to $20,000 student loan debt relief, but the White House is concerned some will use it as an opportunity to scam.
As part of its efforts, the Biden administration released a “do’s and don’ts” list to avoid becoming scammed.
The list of “don’ts” includes:
Don't pay anyone who contacts you with promises of debt relief or loan forgiveness. YOU DO NOT NEED TO PAY ANYONE TO OBTAIN DEBT RELIEF. The application will be free and easy to use when it opens in October.
Don't reveal your FSA ID or account information or password to anyone who contacts you. The Department of Education and your federal student loan servicer will never call or email you asking for this information.
Don't ever give personal or financial information to an unfamiliar caller. When in doubt, hang up and call your student loan servicer directly. You can find your federal student loan servicer’s contact information at Studentaid.gov/manage-loans/repayment/servicers.
Don't refinance your federal student loans unless you know the risks. If you refinance federal student loans that are eligible for debt relief into a private loan, you will lose out on important benefits like one-time debt relief and flexible repayment plans for federal loans.
The list of “do’s” includes:
Do create an FSA ID at StudentAid.gov. You will not need it for the debt relief application but having an FSA ID can allow you to easily access accurate information on your loan and make sure FSA can contact you directly, helping you equip yourself against scammers trying to contact you. Log in to your current account on StudentAid.gov and keep your contact info up to date. If you need help logging in follow these tips on accessing your account.
Do make sure your loan servicer has your most current contact information. If you don’t know who your servicer is, you can log into StudentAid.gov and see your servicer(s) in your account.
Do report scammers to the Federal Trade Commission by visiting reportfraud.ftc.gov.
Biden's plan calls for borrowers with incomes of up to $150,000 to receive up to $10,000 in federal student loan forgiveness. That amount increases to $20,000 for borrowers who received pell grants.
The plan has drawn stiff Republican opposition as some GOP governors have filed a lawsuit to stop the forgiveness program. Republicans have cited the plan's cost, which the Congressional Budget Office places at over $400 billion.
Proponents of debt forgiveness say relief is needed as the average cost of college tuition and fees has increased more than three-fold in the last four decades, according to federal data using 2021 dollars.
Federal student loan debt payments are expected to resume in January after a nearly three-year-long moratorium during the pandemic. Borrowers will have until the end of 2023 to apply for debt forgiveness.