Here’s How Public Servants Can Get Closer to Student-Loan Forgiveness

  • Biden has implemented a waiver for the civil service loan forgiveness program.
  • It will bring borrowers closer to relief and is currently due to expire on October 31, 2022.
  • If you are a public servant, here is what you need to do to access this exemption.

Public servants like teachers, firefighters, the military and indebted nonprofit workers have just under five months to make use of a waiver that could bring them closer to loan forgiveness.

In October, President Joe Biden’s Education Department announced a series of reforms to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF), which forgives public servants’ student debt after ten years of qualifying payments.

These reforms include a time-limited waiver through October 31, 2022, which allows borrowers to count payments from any federal loan program or repayment plan toward loan forgiveness through the PSLF, including programs and plans that were not previously eligible.

According to the department, this waiver alone is intended to automatically bring 550,000 borrowers closer to student loan forgiveness. Other changes to the PSLF include making it easier for service members to get credit for the program, reviewing all previously denied PSLF applications to identify and correct errors, and improving outreach to those who might be eligible for the program.

“The system has not delivered on that promise to date, but that is about to change for many borrowers who have served their communities and their country,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said in a statement. communicated at the time.

But according to a recent analysis by the advocacy group Student Borrower Protection Center, while 9 million public servants are eligible for student loan forgiveness, only 2% of them have actually had their debt erased – and less than 15% of 9 million borrowers have filed documents to track their PSLF progress.

If you’re a public servant with student debt, here’s what you need to do to take advantage of the waiver that expires in 5 months:

  1. First confirm that you qualify for the PSLF by ensuring that you are employed in a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government or nonprofit and that you work full-time.
  2. Submit this form by October 31 for ineligible prior payments, such as those made under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program, to be considered for loan forgiveness if you currently have a direct loan federal.
  3. If your loans are not direct loans (for example, you may have student loans from several different loan companies), you must consolidate them into one federal direct loan. Once done, you can submit the PSLF form.

Once you have submitted the documents, the Education Department should notify you of the relief to which you are entitled. As Insider previously reported, however, married couples who are government employees who have combined their loans into joint-spouse consolidation loans are currently not eligible for PSLF because they are prohibited by law from splitting their loans into a direct federal loan. .

The Department of Education did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment regarding a further extension of the PSLF waiver.

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