While the administration may not have fulfilled all of the promises made on the campaign trail, President Joe Biden's administration has made some progress on student loan forgiveness. Last month, the Department of Education said it has forgiven loans for more than 70,000 borrowers -- to the tune of $5 billion -- since reorganizing its Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in October 2021.
The PSLF program, first launched in 2007, was designed to assist public servants pay off their loans faster, but since 2008 they have been denied.
Certain limitations under the new limited PSF Waiver program are being temporarily relaxed, offering new types of borrowers the opportunity to qualify for forgiveness (and past payments can be counted toward forgiveness). This extends beyond federal Direct Loans, which were previously the only loans that qualified for PSLF, to borrowers who hold other federal loans such as, private lenders, Perkins loans and borrowers with non-income-driven repayment plans. (The waiver only applies to federal loans -- though those are the vast majority of student loan debt,
Are you eligible for this student loan forgiveness program? And if you are, how do you apply? Here's what you need to know about the PSLF.
What are the changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program?
The Department of Education is making it easier for students to enroll and get program benefits, which includes identifying and correcting potential problems by their loan services. Another focus will be on increasing the number of loans that will now be eligible for forgiveness.
Another important change is the introduction of, a new tool that allows borrowers to apply for the PSLF program once a year, and greatly expands eligibility. Before last week's announcement, there were limited options to appeal the denial of a PSLF application, and for PSLF ever received debt forgiveness.
Some borrowers who took out Federal Family Education Loans were previously told they would be ineligible for the PSLF; they can now apply for forgiveness using the limited waiver. This means some borrowers can now receive credit for work periods such as active military duty.
Who qualifies for the PSLF?
Workers like teachers, nurses, and firefighters who serve their local communities are examples of eligible borrowers.
Who can make additional debt forgiveness under the new PSLF terms?
The PSLF increased its eligibility for borrowers in the sense that more types of loans and payment plans qualify for forgiveness than ever before, but the applicants who can apply are still limited to public sector workers.
The easiest way to figure out if you qualify is by applying for the limited waiver. This will help you consolidate various types of loans or certify previous periods of employment for credit.
And even if you suspended your monthly student loan payments during the pandemic, you still qualify for additional PSLF relief. In fact, each paused payment still counts as a qualifying payment toward your goal.
How can I apply for forgiveness for the PSLF?
The Department of Education will guide your application for the limited waiver, which will be available on October 31, 2022. However, some lenders may not have to take any action to have their loans canceled, but it's wise to ensure that you confirm your details effectively.
What would happen if I made payments but did not receive credit for them?
If you had been making payments, but your loan servicer had incorrect or unrepresentative records, you were forced to counter their claims. Now, with the limited waiver, you can apply for forgiveness -- and have your payments counted toward your debt and forgiveness.
What happens if I took out loans that do not qualify for the PSLF?
Previously, only Direct Loans with a standard or income-driven repayment plan qualified for PSLF. However, for a limited time, you may be able to get credit for past payments on federal loans that did not previously qualify for PSLF, regardless of your repayment plan.
What other policy modifications should I have to know about?
As the PSLF program is back on track, the Department of Education announced in its statement that it will continue to refine and update its policies in the next months.
Correction, Jan. 25: This article previously stated that private loans would be eligible for student loan forgiveness under the new waiver. That was incorrect. Perkins Loans and other federal loans may be eligible for the PSLF waiver.
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