You may qualify for student loan forgiveness if you owe federal student loans. While the federal CARES Act provided temporary forbearance on student loan payments for eligible borrowers, those benefits expire at the end of January. As millions of Americans struggle financially because of the coronavirus pandemic, congressional leaders are calling on the new administration to do away with student debt.

Universal forgiveness of student loans

The incoming Biden administration has proposed universal student loan forgiveness up to $10,000 for all eligible federal student loan borrowers.

The $10,000 in loan forgiveness could be a welcome financial break if you're out of work or were laid off in 2010 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) may also be an attractive option if you are not eligible for it. The program offers forgiveness if you make 120 qualifying payments toward your student loans and you work in public service. You also need to be enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan.

The targeted forgiveness of student loans

Biden has proposed forgiving undergraduate student loans for students attending two- and four-year public colleges in a second proposal. However, there are limits to how far this forgiveness can extend.

You have to earn less than $125,000 a year to qualify for this benefit. Furthermore, it hasn't been revealed which federal loans will be included in this option. So, you may not get this benefit if you make too much or don't have a covered loan.

Maintain existing student loan forgiveness programs

Additionally, the Biden team has called for extending the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to include borrowers with historically ineligible loans.

I am pleased to report that the new administration is supporting a program that has been shown to forgive students $10,000 of student loan debt with five years of national or community service. If the program becomes a reality, you may be eligible for this benefit regardless of your work history.

Biden also proposed restructuring the income-driven repayment plan. If you make less than $25,000 you would pay nothing towards your undergraduate loans, and no interest would accrue. If you earn over $25,000, you would have to pay 5% of your discretionary income.

Biden's plan for student loan forgiveness has some interesting elements, but one is not mentioned: private student loans.

If you owe private student loans, you may not be eligible for any of the pending forgiveness options offered by the new administration. Refinancing your student loans may be a more appealing option.