Yes, Parent PLUS loans are eligible for debt forgiveness

We answer common questions from VERIFY readers about how the Biden administration’s student debt forgiveness plan applies to Parent PLUS loans.

President Joe Biden’s administration will forgive between $10,000 and $20,000 in federal student loan debt for individuals making under $125,000 and couples making less than $250,000.

Many VERIFY readers have asked us if their loans are eligible for forgiveness, including those who took out Parent PLUS loans.

Direct PLUS loans, often referred to as Parent PLUS loans, are federal loans that parents of dependent undergraduate students can use to help pay for college or career school, the Department of Education says on its website.

The VERIFY team received several questions about Parent PLUS loans, including whether parents and students are considered separate borrowers and if parents who received Pell Grants are eligible for an extra $10,000 in forgiveness. 

THE SOURCES

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QUESTION #1

Do Parent PLUS loans qualify for debt forgiveness?

THE ANSWER: 

Yes, Parent PLUS loans held by the Department of Education are eligible for debt forgiveness, senior Biden administration officials told reporters.

QUESTION #2

Are parents and students considered separate borrowers?

THE ANSWER:

Yes, parents with a Direct PLUS Loan and students are each eligible for debt forgiveness, the Department of Education confirmed in an email to VERIFY.  

Jessica Thompson, vice president at the Institute for College Access and Success, explained that Parent PLUS loan borrowers would qualify for forgiveness based on their own income and loan, while their children would separately qualify based on the same factors.

QUESTION #3

Would parents who received a Pell Grant as undergraduate students get up to $20,000 in forgiveness?

THE ANSWER:

“If both the student and the parent received a Federal Pell Grant, each person would be eligible to receive the additional $10,000 in debt cancellation,” the Department of Education told VERIFY.

More from VERIFY: Yes, there is a way to check if you received a Pell Grant

QUESTION #4:

Are spouses considered separate borrowers?

THE ANSWER:

“Our current understanding is that if the household qualifies by income, each spouse holding qualified loans would be eligible for cancellation,” Thompson said.

This includes Parent PLUS, graduate or undergraduate loans.

“The income criteria is joint, but the cancellation is for each borrower with qualifying loans,” she added.

QUESTION #5:

Is there a way to check the status of a Parent PLUS Loan?

THE ANSWER:

Parents can find the status of the Direct PLUS Loan by either logging in to their Federal Student Aid (FSA) account or contacting their loan servicer. The FSA account will also have information about the loan servicer. That account should also tell the parent if they have received a Pell Grant.

More from VERIFY: Yes, some federal student loan borrowers will need to apply for debt forgiveness

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