Student Loan Cancellation: Education Department Has Forgiven $6.8 Billion for Public Workers — Do You Qualify?

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Student loan reform has led to more than 110,000 borrowers having their student loan debt forgiven this year. The amount of cancelled debt by the Education Department through the public service loan forgiveness waiver totals roughly $6.8 billion, MSN reported.

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Last month, the U.S. Department of Education made temporary changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program to ensure better management of Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plans for federal student loans, GOBankingRates previously reported.

Fixing a Broken System

Under the new rules, more people may qualify for loan forgiveness. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which allows qualified individuals to have their student loans cancelled after 10 years or 120 payments, has been in effect since 2007. But many people who should have qualified were deemed ineligible due to program mismanagement.

An investigation by news site NPR found that loan servicers were not properly tracking loan payments to determine when borrowers were eligible for cancellation. Some borrowers had no idea they might qualify for cancellation. Other borrowers, misled by lenders, unknowingly entered a nonqualifying repayment plan.

Save for Your Future

What To Do If You Have Student Loan Debt

If you have student loan debt you believe may qualify for forgiveness, it’s important to act quickly, higher education expert Mark Kantrowitz informed MSN. Federal Family Education Loans and Federal Perkins Loans may now qualify for public service loan forgiveness, but only until October 31, 2022. These loans were not eligible for cancellation previously.

If you have a FFEL or Perkins loan, you will have to consolidate them into direct loans to qualify for forgiveness. Kantrowitz said this typically takes between 30 and 45 days, so you’ll want to start the process immediately.

You will also have to file a PSLF form for each job you’ve held since you took out the loans. ConsumerFinance.gov explained that you can download a PDF of the form from the StudentAid.gov website. There are four sections to the form, and you’ll need your employer’s — and past employers’ — help to complete the third and fourth sections. Your employers will then need to sign those sections.

Find the application for PSLF and Temporary Expanded PSLF here. Once completed, mail the necessary forms to:

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U.S. Department of Education
FedLoan Servicing
P.O. Box 69184
Harrisburg, PA 17106-9184

You can also fax the form to 717-720-1628 or visit MyFedLoan.org to submit online.

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Some borrowers may have their qualifying loans automatically forgiven after the government audits existing accounts. But with time running out to file, it’s important to complete the PSLF or TEPSLF paperwork to ensure your loans can be forgiven.

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About the Author

Dawn Allcot is a full-time freelance writer and content marketing specialist who geeks out about finance, e-commerce, technology, and real estate. Her lengthy list of publishing credits include Bankrate, Lending Tree, and Chase Bank. She is the founder and owner of GeekTravelGuide.net, a travel, technology, and entertainment website. She lives on Long Island, New York, with a veritable menagerie that includes 2 cats, a rambunctious kitten, and three lizards of varying sizes and personalities – plus her two kids and husband. Find her on Twitter, @DawnAllcot.

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