President Joe Biden’s student loan relief program, which is awaiting a Supreme Court decision later this year, could impact millions of American borrowers. But now, regardless of the Court’s decision, some eligible borrowers may still be able to have their debt forgiven after 10 years.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program supports “public employees — such as teachers, firefighters and members of law enforcement, as well as those who work for a non-profit organization in a variety of fields — by forgiving the remaining federal student loan balance for those who work in public service and make the required 120 qualifying monthly payments,” according to the Department of Education.
So, for example, any U.S. federal, state, local, or tribal government agency is considered a government employer for the PSLF Program, however, a government contractor isn’t considered a government employer, according to a White House fact sheet.
In addition, to be eligible for the PSLF, the requirements are: working full time; having direct loans or consolidating into direct consolidation loans; and certifying qualifying employment for the periods you seek credit toward PSLF.
In May, the Department of Education announced that it has approved a total of $42 billion in PSLF for more than 615,000 borrowers since October 2021.
“This is a result of the temporary PSLF changes made by the Biden-Harris Administration that made it easier for borrowers to reach forgiveness,” according to the press release.
In addition, it announced improvements to its PSLF Help Tool, which borrowers use to apply for the program, which enables borrowers to complete the entire PSLF application process online, and borrowers will no longer need to fax or mail in their application with a wet signature.
“Allowing borrowers to submit e-signatures for themselves and request e-signatures from their employers will significantly decrease processing time, the Department said. “In addition, borrowers can now digitally track the status of their PSLF form in the My Activity section of their StudentAid.gov account, where they can see updates such as whether their employer has digitally signed their PSLF form and when their form has been processed.”
As for the Biden plan, announced in August 2022 and which is still awaiting a Supreme Court decision — up to $10,000 in federal student debt relief may be offered to borrowers whose income in 2020 or 2021 was less than $125,000 (or $250,000 for households). That figure rises to up to $20,000 in student loan cancellation for Pell Grant recipients. In addition, dependent students’ eligibility is based on parental income. Most federal loans are eligible, including undergraduate and graduate direct loans, parent PLUS and grad PLUS loans, consolidation loans. Federal family education loan (FFEL) program loans held by ED, Perkins loans held by ED, and defaulted loans, according to studentaid.gov.
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