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The White House Student Debt Cancellation Plan

The Biden Administration’s life-changing student debt relief program provided a lifeline to millions of Americans by canceling their student debt

No matter what we look like or where we live, no one should face the burden of overwhelming debt in order to get an education.

After hearing from educators and other advocates across the country, President Biden and the U.S. Department of Education announced a bold, life-changing student debt cancellation plan on behalf of 48 million student borrowers in America.

Under the White House’s student debt cancellation plan, most individuals, including current students, are eligible for up to $20,000 in federal student debt relief. What this plan does for borrowers across the U.S.:

  • Cancels up to $10,000 in federal student debt for most individuals, including current students.
  • Cancels up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients.
  • Extended the interest payment pause.
  • Creates a new and much-improved Income-Driven Repayment Plan

As of November 2022, the U.S. Department of Education has been blocked from proceeding with its cancellation program and currently cannot accept applications. Text STUDENTDEBT to 48744 for updates as we continue to advocate for broad student debt cancellation.

female high school graduate in cap and gown

Meet the NEA Student Debt Navigator

NEA has partnered with a company called Savi to offer an online student debt navigator tool, free for one year for NEA members. Sign up to receive personalized advice from student debt experts and gain access to Savi’s e-filing function, which helps eliminate the common mistakes that bar many applicants from receiving forgiveness.


If you have federal student loans and an annual income of less than $125,000 ($250,000 for married couples), you are eligible for $10,000 in debt cancellation. Current students, such as NEA Aspiring Educators, are also eligible for loan cancellation. If you are a dependent student, you will be eligible for relief based on parental income, rather than your own income.

Past Pell Grant recipients are eligible for $20,000 in debt cancellation, provided you earn less than $125,000 a year ($250,000 for married couples). Individuals are eligible for this cancellation amount even if you have only received one Pell Grant in any amount. It doesn’t matter how much you received in Pell Grants or how many years you received Pell Grants. Although Pell Grants are only available to help finance an undergraduate program, the $20,000 in cancellation will apply to both undergraduate and graduate federal loans.


Some borrowers will receive automatic cancellation if they already participate in certain income-driven plans or if they recently submitted a FAFSA form. Otherwise, most borrowers will be required to submit a simple application through the Department of Education once the program restarts.

Due to recent events this program has been indefinitely halted. Once the program restarts, most borrowers will only need to submit a simple application. The application takes less than five minutes to complete. You do not need to submit any supporting documentation or to log onto your FSA ID to complete it.

Some borrowers will receive automatic cancellation if they already participate in certain income-driven plans or if they recently submitted a FAFSA form.


    Learn About Public Service Loan Forgiveness

    While the cancellation of $10K -$20K is life-changing, it is just the beginning for educators still holding student debt. Luckily, we have worked the Biden administration to overhaul to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which opens hundreds of thousands of educators up to complete student debt cancellation.


    While more than 26 million borrowers have applied for this relief, they have been prevented from receiving it due to the rulings of Trump-appointed judges in several cases. As of November 2022, the U.S. Department of Education has been blocked from proceeding with its cancellation program and currently cannot accept applications. The Biden Administration is continuing to defend against those legal attacks.


    NEA will not stop advocating for our educators and those of the working-class until they get the debt relief they deserve. As the appeals process proceeds, we will update our members on any new developments, including the resumption of the program.

    On Tuesday, February 28, 2023, we joined advocates from across the country at the Supreme Court to make it clear that student debt cancellation is just, necessary, and legal. Watch NEA President Becky Pringle's speech to leaders below.

      Payment Pause Extension 

      As part of the CARES Act, in March 2020 Congress paused payments, interest, and collection efforts for most federal student loan borrowers. Since then, the White House has extended the payment pause several times.

      The pause includes the following relief measures for eligible loans:

      • A suspension of loan payments
      • A 0% interest rate
      • Stopped collections on defaulted loans

      The most recent extension, announced on November 20, 2022 will alleviate uncertainty for borrowers as the Biden-Harris Administration asks the Supreme Court to review the lower-court orders that are preventing the Department from providing debt relief for tens of millions of Americans.

      Payments will resume 60 days after the Department is permitted to implement the program or the litigation is resolved, which will give the Supreme Court an opportunity to resolve the case during its current Term. If the program has not been implemented and the litigation has not been resolved by June 30, 2023 – payments will resume 60 days after that.

      The months during the payment freeze will count toward PSLF forgiveness for Federal Direct Loans. For other loans, pursuant to the waiver, those months will count if the loans were in a repayment status, not deferment, forbearance, or default.

      Cancel student debt sign outside U.S. White House

      Other Student Debt Support

      From Public Service Loan Forgiveness to the White House Student Debt Cancellation Plan, we have information about the resources available to educators to get the student debt relief they deserve.
      National Education Association

      Great public schools for every student

      The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.