PANAMA CITY, FLA.(WMBB)– Individuals who received Federal student loans in the past can apply for up to $20,000 in debt cancellation.

Student loan forgiveness is a part of President Biden’s plans to help rebuild the economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gulf Coast State College Financial Aid Director Kris Hatcher said some students have had a tougher time making their loan payments.

“You know, when you think about our area and after Michael and then exacerbated by the pandemic that we have a lot of families that are living paycheck to paycheck,” said Hatcher.” If student loans are part of their monthly bills, then being able to have some of that canceled depending on how much income they have could make the difference between them being able to right the ship.”

The government is basing the amount of debt it forgives on how much the borrower is earning. Hatcher said the average graduate has about $30,000 in student debt.

The loans are only available to past student borrowers. Students who borrowed this semester will not be eligible.

The application is available online and only takes a minute to fill out. However, Hatcher is warning applicants to be on the lookout for possible scams.

“We’ve heard a lot of news, I guess you could say about people trying to take advantage of the situation and trying to either direct student loan borrowers to the wrong website or to try and steal their identity by having them give them information over the phone,” said Hatcher.

The application deadline is December 31, 2023.

To fill out an application visit studentaid.gov.