The U.S. Education Department is one step closer to providing debt forgiveness to millions of people who took out student loans.

On Tuesday, the department made the announcement in a statement.

“Student loans were never meant to be a life sentence, but it’s certainly felt that way for borrowers locked out of debt relief they’re eligible for,” U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona said in the statement.

Who qualifies for immediate student loan forgiveness in Biden’s plan?

The plan will bring 3.6 million borrowers closer to debt forgiveness and 40,000 borrowers will receive immediate forgiveness.

The borrowers who qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program are immediately forgiven of student loan debt. This category includes government and nonprofit workers, who have 10 years of qualifying loan payments.

Who qualified for income-driven repayment plans in Biden’s plan?

The other option is enrolling in an income-driven plan, and any remaining debt will be wiped out after 20 to 25 years, according to the New York Times.

Under this plan, payments will count toward the income-driven repayment clock, regardless of which plan borrowers were under during the time of the payments. It also includes forbearances of more than 12 consecutive months and more than 36 cumulative months toward forgiveness under both plans.

How did student loan debt get so high in America?

For years, the Education Department hired a group of outside loan services to counsel borrowers and collect payments, reports NPR. When they struggled, those groups pushed for the borrowers go into forbearance, meaning that borrowers could avoid making payments for an allotted time, but the interest kept accumulating and increasing their balance.

Why does Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan matter?

Millions of Americans have student loans. Being able to afford those payments each month can be tough for many low-income people. During President Biden’s campaign, he supported a proposal to ease the burden student loans place on many Americans.