If you’re a service member or veteran with student loan debt, you may be in luck. A federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program (PSLF) that originally forgave few loans has been revamped to include more people. Complaints of veterans prompted the Department of Education to rewrite the rules to “restore the promise” of the program and “make it easier for members of the military to get credit toward forgiveness while they serve.”
As the name implies, PSLF is for workers who have 10 years of experience in either a full-time government job or a non-profit, non-partisan organization, and have been making regular loan payments. Should the borrower meet the requirements, they are eligible to have their federal student loans wiped out. Clean slate.
We know what you’re thinking: where’s the rub? Unfortunately, many workers who’ve become eligible for forgiveness have been denied due to a convoluted application process. At present only about 16,000 applicants (out of an estimated one million) have had their loans forgiven.
This isn’t surprising as the PSLF has been criticized from the beginning as being poorly handled and ultimately unforgiving despite its title.
To address this, the Department of Education recently issued a temporary expansion of the program, during which borrowers may receive credit for payments that previously did not qualify.
This announcement comes on the heels of complaints made by student veterans during a roundtable discussion at Manchester Community College. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona listened and pledged to follow up with reforms.
The reforms are designed to speed up processing and greatly expand the number of eligible workers for the program. Many of whom are servicemen and women.
To help get the word out, the student veterans at Manchester encouraged Cardona to expand his message beyond veterans groups to include colleges and employers. The DoE is going a step further and asking veterans to help spread the word.
If you have student loans, it is highly recommended that you look into the expanded eligibility rules and how to submit. Visit the Department of Education website and let us know how it goes.
Learn more about eligibility requirements and the application process here.