The U.S. Department of Education announced on Tuesday that it is going forward with permanent changes to its Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program in order to make it easier for borrowers to have their student loan debts forgiven, CNBC reported.
Under the PSLF program, individuals who work for the government or specific nonprofits can get their student loan debt canceled after ten years or 120 payments. But the path to forgiveness has long been plagued with issues that made it difficult for many borrowers to get relief.
“Our team has worked to turn Public Service Loan Forgiveness from a promise broken into a promise kept,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said during a press call. The new changes will “reduce the red tape that riddled the PSLF program,” he added.
Additionally, borrowers can get credit for payments that previously didn’t qualify. Such payments include partial, late, or lump sum payments, payments made under a different repayment plan, and credit for periods in deferment and forbearance.
“Borrowers with Direct Loans or Department-managed Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) will receive credit toward forgiveness on income-driven repayment (IDR) for all months spent in repayment, including payments prior to consolidation and regardless of whether they made partial or late payments or are on a repayment plan,” the Education Department said in a release.
“I’m incredibly proud that the Biden-Harris team’s temporary changes to Public Service Loan Forgiveness helped over 236,000 teachers, nurses, veterans, government employees and other public service workers secure more than $14 billion in debt relief,” Cardona said in a statement.
“Today, we’re encouraging public service workers to take advantage of the program’s temporary changes before the deadline on October 31. At the same time, we’re taking bold steps that will automatically move more hardworking public service workers closer to forgiveness and making permanent changes to reduce the red tape that riddled the PSLF program. The Biden-Harris team is as committed as ever to upholding the promise of PSLF and ensuring borrowers who devote their careers to teaching our children, strengthening our communities, and serving our nation get the relief they’ve earned,” he continued.
Under the Biden administration’s student-loan relief plan, those with federal student loans who make under $125,000 annually, or couples earning less than $250,000, qualify for up to $10,000 in forgiveness. But if a borrower received a Pell Grant to attend college, they could potentially get up to $20,000 in relief.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.