Amid the economic turmoil of the pandemic, the US government lobbied to stop paying the student debt of more than 40 million Americans in March 2020. For most people, that is. But the U.S. Department of Education is making changes to its Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program It will provide greater relief to borrowers who are government employees, including teachers, nurses, and firefighters.
thewill impact about 550,000 borrowers, with 22,000 eligible for immediate debt cancellation out of a total of $ 1.7 billion in loans, according to a agency statement. Although the program was launched in 2007 with the goal of helping public servants pay off their loans more quickly, almost 99% of borrowers who have applied since 2008 they have refused. So far, just over “16,000 borrowers have received a discharge under the PSLF prior to this action,” the department said.
Here you will find everything you need to know about the PSLF, including who is eligible, how to apply, and what benefits are offered.
What changes are being made to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?
Simply put, the Department of Education is making it easy for borrowers to enroll and receive the benefits of the program. This includes simplifying the identification and resolution of potential mistakes made by your loan servicers, and expanding the types of loans that will now be eligible for forgiveness. Another focus will be on improving benefits for the military, including converting time spent on active duty into a loan payment, the department said.
Another key change is the introduction of a limited exemption – a completely new tool that gives borrowers a full year to apply for the PSLF program under its new terms and greatly expands eligibility. Before last week’s announcement, there were limited options to appeal a denial of a PSLF application, and only 5% of people who applied because the PSLF program once received debt forgiveness.
The exemption also allows borrowers to consolidate loans that were previously ineligible for the program. For example, some borrowers who applied for Federal Family Education Loans were previously told that they would not be eligible for PSLF; they can now apply for forgiveness through the limited waiver. That means borrowers can now receive credit for payments and periods of employment, such as active duty, that they could not have before.
Who qualifies for PSLF?
To qualify for the PSLF, you must be employed full time by a U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government agency, this includes the military, or a non-profit organization. You must have direct loans or other types of loans that have already been consolidated into direct loans, and you must make 120 qualified payments (payments worth 10 years). Examples of borrowers who qualify for PSLF are workers such as teachers, nurses, and firefighters who serve their local communities.
Who qualifies for additional debt forgiveness under the new PSLF terms?
The PSLF expanded borrower eligibility in that more loan types and repayment plans qualify for forgiveness than ever before, but borrowers who can apply are still limited to public sector workers. Therefore, more than 550,000 borrowers who already qualify for the PSLF may now qualify for an additional forgiveness. There are a few specific ways to qualify and check if you are eligible.
The easiest way to find out if you qualify is to apply for the limited exemption. Completing the exemption will help you do things like consolidate different types of loans or certify previous employment periods for credit.
Don’t worry, even if you suspended your monthly student loan payments during the pandemic, you still qualify for additional PSLF relief.
How can I request a discharge from the PSLF?
The Department of Education has a dedicated tool to help guide your limited exemption request. The deadline to apply for the exemption is October. December 31, 2022, but the sooner you apply, the better. Some borrowers may not have to take any action to pay off their loans, but it’s a good idea to proactively confirm your specific details.
What if I made payments but did not receive credit for them?
Previously, if you had been making payments but your loan servicer had incomplete or inaccurate records, you had almost without recourse to counter their claims. Now, with the limited exemption, you can apply for forgiveness and have your payments count toward your debt and forgiveness.
What if I take out loans that do not qualify for the PSLF?
If you obtained private loans or any type of loan that you did not qualify before, PSLF’s limited exemption offers borrowers the option to consolidate their loans into the Direct Loan Program, making them eligible for forgiveness. So it doesn’t matter what type of loans you have, from now until October. On December 31, 2022, you have the option to use the waiver to bundle them together and enroll in the Direct Loan Program.
What other policy changes should I know about?
The Department of Education said in its statement that it will continue to implement and update its policies in the coming months as it tries to get the PSLF program back on track.