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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


Some, but not all, federal student loans are paid off under income-dependent repayment plans, whereby an individual’s income determines the amount of their monthly payments. Any remaining balance for such loans is forgiven at the end of the repayment period, which is either 10, 20 or 25 years, depending on plan type. The borrower must remain in good standing throughout the repayment period.

Any forgiven loan balance will not be federally taxable income through 2025 because of the American Rescue Plan.

In July 2023, the Department of Education began notifying over 800,000 borrowers that their loans have been forgiven. Those borrowers have already made repayments for the full period specified by their loan terms, but those repayments were not accounted for accurately as a result of “historical failures in the administration” of the loan program.

Over 12,000 of the eligible borrowers are Wisconsin residents, totaling $576 million in relief.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Federal student aid: Federal student aid

Federal student aid: Payment Count Adjustments Toward Income-Driven Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs

CNBC: Here’s how Biden’s $39 billion in student loan forgiveness may impact your taxes

White House: President Biden announces student loan relief for borrowers who need it most

U.S. Department of Education: Biden-Harris administration releases state-by-state data on $39 billion in loan forgiveness for 804,000 borrowers as a result of fixes to income-driven repayment plans

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Jacob Alabab-Moser joined as Wisconsin Watch’s fact checker in September 2022, as part of the effort by The Gigafact Project in partnership with different state-level news outlets to combat misinformation in the 2022 midterm elections. Jacob has several years of experience as a fact checker and research assistant at a variety of organizations, including at The Gigafact Project. He holds a BA from Brown University and is pursuing a MSc from the London School of Economics and Political Science.