Wondering if you qualify for $20K forgiveness? How to know if you got a Pell Grant

Learn more about Pell Grants, how to check if you received one in college, and how to apply for $20,000 in student loan forgiveness

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Check your Pell Grant history on StudentAid.gov and learn how to receive $20,000 in student loan forgiveness. Learn more. (Shutterstock)

After President Joe Biden’s student loan forgiveness announcement last week, you may be wondering if you received a Pell Grant while you were in college. 

Borrowers with annual income of $125,000 or less for single people — $250,000 for married couples filing a joint tax return — are eligible for $10,000 of forgiveness. But only those who also received Pell Grants can get up to $20,000. 

If you owe less than $20,000, your relief is capped at your outstanding student loan debt. For example, if you owe $13,000, then the maximum amount of relief you can get is $13,000.

Here’s how to tell if you received a Pell Grant, and if you qualify for the $20,000. 

Student loan forgiveness doesn’t apply to private student loans. Refinancing could allow you to get a lower interest rate. By visiting Credible, you can learn more about student loan refinancing and compare rates from multiple private student loan lenders.

Pell Grants 101

Pell Grants are federal student aid that you don’t need to repay. The maximum Federal Pell Grant award for the 2022-2023 award year is $6,895. Students can apply for the grant every year they attend college, but the award is limited to no more than 12 semesters.

To qualify for a Pell Grant, students must:

  • Be undergraduate students
  • Display exceptional financial need
  • Come from families with annual income of $60,000 or less
  • Be enrolled full-time or part-time student

Why do Pell Grant recipients get more forgiveness?

In order to be eligible for Pell Grants in the first place, a borrower must come from a family that made less than $60,000 a year. Those who receive Pell Grants tend to have more difficulty repaying their student loan debt than someone who did not receive a Pell Grant, according to a statement from the White House. 

More than 60% of federal student loan borrowers also received Pell Grant. The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 27 million borrowers will be eligible for the $20,000 in relief.

How to check if you received a Pell Grant

You may be wondering if you received a Pell Grant, especially if it’s been some time since you graduated from college. You can check on the StudentAid.gov website for your Pell Grant history. 

Keep in mind that due to the recent announcement, you may experience slow load times trying to access the site because of the heavy traffic. Here are the steps:

  • Log in. Start by visiting StudentAid.gov and logging in using your credentials. If it’s been some time since you last accessed your account, you may need to reset your password if you don’t remember.
  • Verify your information. Before you can access your account, StudentAid.gov may ask you to verify your information, including your physical address (if you moved since you last logged on) as well as your email address and phone number.
  • Access the Dashboard. Once you confirm this information, you’ll have access to what StudentAid.gov calls the Dashboard. You should see an infographic of your total loan balance, including the amount you owe on principal and interest. If you received grants, there should be a second infographic of your total disbursed amount in grant funds. Click on View Details in the top right corner.
  • View tabs. From there, you should now see two tabs. One for loans, and one for grants. Clicking on the Grants tab takes you to a page with more information, including how many further Pell Grants you are eligible to receive, if any.
  • View Grants. At the bottom of the page, it also details which college you received the grants from, the award year you received them, the grant amount, and the disbursed amount. Clicking on the View Grant Details arrow under each Pell Grant gives you detailed information about the individual grant, including the amount, the award year, and the point of contact for your college in case you have questions about the grant.

It’s also a good idea to check with your school’s financial aid office if you have more questions about your grants.

While your private student loans aren’t eligible for student loan forgiveness, you can still refinance them for a lower interest rate. You can easily compare prequalified rates from multiple lenders using Credible. 

How to apply for $20,000 of student loan forgiveness

The Department of Education already has relevant income data for nearly 8 million borrowers. If you’re one of them, you won’t have to do anything to get your forgiveness amount. However, if you haven’t updated your income data recently, the Administration plans to launch an application for student loan forgiveness by early October. 

You can sign up at the U.S. Department of Education’s subscription page to be notified when the application is available. Once you complete the application, you can expect relief within four to six weeks. 

It’s best to apply before Nov. 15, 2022 so you can receive relief before the payment pause expires on Dec. 31. However, if you apply after Dec. 31, your application will still continue to be processed. The application for $20,000 in student loan forgiveness is only available to those who received Pell Grants and whose income is less than $125,000 for single people and $250,000 for married couples who file a joint tax return.

In the meantime, you can consider refinancing your private student loans. With Credible, you can easily compare student loan refinance rates from multiple lenders in minutes — without affecting your credit.