Student debt: can Parent PLUS loans be forgiven?
(NEXSTAR) – As the conversation around federal student loan relief continues, some parents are wondering if the loans they have taken out on behalf of their students will receive the same relief.
The Direct PLUS Loan, commonly referred to as the Parent PLUS Loan, is available to eligible parents of dependent undergraduate students. According to latest data from the Department of Education, parents of about 3.6 million students owe more than $107 billion in Parent PLUS loans as of March 2022. This represents about 6% of the total federal debt of 1.6 trillion dollars that Americans owe.
Biden, asked in April about using executive power to write off student loan debt, told reporters he was not considering a $50,000 debt reduction. Multiple sources have confirmed to The Hill that Biden was considering cutting at least $10,000 per borrower.
While sources said debt relief could be limited based on income level or type of loan, additional details on the widespread federal loan cancellations were not announced. The most recent update from the White House was President Biden tell reporters Wednesday that he will make a decision on canceling the student loan by the end of August.
It also means that it is unclear who will and will not be eligible for student debt relief. An analysis by Peter Granville, Senior Policy Associate at The Foundation of the Centuryindicates that if the Biden administration were to limit relief to “per student” rather than “per borrower,” parents responsible for Parent PLUS loans could be excluded from debt forgiveness.
Aside from the expectation of a potential widespread cancellation of student loans, parents can currently have their debt canceled in a limited number of ways.
According to Federal Office of Student Aid, parent PLUS loans can be canceled if the parent dies or becomes totally and permanently disabled, or if their loan is canceled in the event of bankruptcy. Loans could also be canceled if the student for whom the loan was borrowed dies, does not complete their program before their school closes, or withdraws from school and the school does not repay the loan money. parents.
Parent PLUS loan borrowers are also only eligible for one income-based repayment option, the Income Contingent Repayment Plan, or ICR. To use this plan, parents must first consolidate their PLUS loans into a direct consolidation loan and then repay that loan under the ICR.
Payments on the ICR plan are either 20% of the borrower’s discretionary income, or what they “would pay on a repayment plan with a 12-year fixed payment, adjusted for your income.” The lesser of the two is used, depending on FSA. Parents can sue Civil service loan forgiveness for their PLUS loans, but can only do so using the ICR plan.
Ultimately, it’s too early to tell whether Parent PLUS Loan borrowers are considered in the Biden administration’s potential student loan cancellation.
So far, about 1.3 million borrowers have received $26 billion in student debt forgiveness since President Biden took office.
In addition to the thousands of borrowers who have benefited from debt cancellation under the revamped PSLF program, another 690,000 borrowers saw a total of $7.9 billion in student loans wiped out by discharges due to borrower defenses and school closures. More than 400,000 borrowers have received more than $8.5 billion in debt forgiveness through total and permanent disability release.
The Biden Administration agreed to cancel $6 billion in federal student debt for approximately 200,000 borrowers as part of a proposed class action settlement. Borrowers say their college defrauded them and their requests for relief from the Department of Education have been delayed for years.