Eligibility, Deadline, How to Apply – NBC Chicago

More than 145,000 U.S. borrowers have had the rest of their student loan debt forgiven through the public service loan forgiveness program, and officials say many more are likely to be eligible.

The program, launched in 2007 to steer more graduates into public service, cancels student debt after 10 years of community service, or 120 payments. Teachers, librarians, nurses, public interest lawyers, the military, and other public workers can all apply.

The US Department of Education has relaxed complex rules for applying for the program, but only until October 31. Here’s what you need to know if you want to apply:

WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM THE PUBLIC SERVICE LOAN REBATE?

If you are or have been employed at least 30 hours per week in the following types of organizations, you are eligible:

  • Government organizations at all levels (US federal, state, local, or tribal). This includes the U.S. military, all working in public education, and full-time volunteer work with AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps.
  • Any nonprofit organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  • If you work for a non-profit organization that is not tax-exempt, you may still qualify for the PSLF if the organization provides certain types of eligible public services such as emergency management, aid and services. legal, early childhood education, services for the disabled or the elderly, public health, including nurses and nurse practitioners, public library and school library services, and public safety, such as crime prevention and law enforcement.

To demonstrate that your public service job qualifies you for the pardon, you will file an Employer Certification Form with your servicer, listing the jobs you have held.

You must have direct loans or consolidate other federal student loans into one direct loan. You must also make 120 qualifying payments or 10 years of payments.

You can apply before you’ve made 120 payments, and the Education Department encourages anyone eligible for the program to apply before the waiver period ends on October 31, regardless of the number of payments made.

Americans are drowning in student loans. But luckily there are lifeboats there. You just need to know where to find them…and where the paddles are. Here are three practical suggestions (and one less practical suggestion) for getting rid of your student loan debt.

WHICH STUDENT LOANS ARE ELIGIBLE FOR LOAN FORGIVENESS?

Any federal student loan received through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans Program is eligible.

If you have federally guaranteed student loans issued by banks under the Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL) program or the Federal Perkins Loans (Perkins Loans) program, you will need to consolidate them into the program. direct loans with your service agent to take advantage of them. of the PSLF. This can be done until October 2022 when the waiver will expire. And while all loans taken out directly by students can now be counted, those taken out by parents through the Parent PLUS program remain ineligible.

Private student loans are not eligible.

HOW CAN I APPLY FOR A STUDENT LOAN?

You have to submit an application before October 31. You can still apply after that, but the waiver rules only apply until then.

HOW TO CONSOLIDATE MY DEBT IN A DIRECT LOAN?

Not sure what type of loan you have?

First, visit studentaid.gov and log in to your account to see if you have loans under the Federal Family Education Loan Program or the Perkins Loan Program. These are the loans that you will consolidate.

Then apply online or by mail or fax with FedLoan Servicing. The process is free and takes about six weeks, but you can submit the Civil Service Loan Forgiveness Form before or after the consolidation is complete.

62% of student borrowers who responded to a survey said their debt had a negative impact on their mental health, according to polling firm Momentive. To find out if there’s any light at the end of the tunnel, we asked student financial planner Mark Kantrowitz if this debt could be forgiven and what President Joe Biden can do about it.

WHAT COUNTS AS A QUALIFYING PAYMENT?

A qualifying monthly payment is a payment you made after October 1, 2007, while you were employed by a qualifying employer.

All months of payments suspended during the pandemic count towards the total payments.

Abstention periods of 12 consecutive months or more, or 36 cumulative months or more, count towards the waiver.

Months spent in adjournment prior to 2013 count towards the waiver.

Additionally, the Department of Education will include economic hardship deferment effective January 1, 2013.

The 120 qualifying monthly payments do not need to be consecutive. For example, if you have a period of employment with an ineligible employer, you will not lose credit for prior eligible payments.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR THE LIMITED WAIVER PROGRAM?

There is no separate application process for the waiver program. Exceptions to the waiver will be active for applicants who follow the process until the end of October.

HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE CURRENTLY IN THE PROGRAM?

As of May this year, 715,675 people had completed processed forms for the program. According to the Ministry of Education, 61.9% of borrowers work in government, while the rest work in non-profit organizations. The average amount of debt canceled under the program is $64,968.

WHO CAN I CONTACT IF I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS?

If you have a specific question regarding your application, it is best to call or email a representative.

For general questions about student loans, the Federal Student Aid Information Center (FSAIC) hosts a contact center that allows borrowers to live chat, call, or email.

For specific program questions, applicants may contact FedLoan Servicing at 1-855-265-4038.

The Student Borrower Protection Center has compiled a list of resources available in every state across the country.

WHERE CAN I FIND MORE INFORMATION?

Government agencies and private organizations are currently hosting several online and in-person events to help applicants successfully complete the program.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Coalition hosts a Frequently Asked Questions webinar about the program the first week of every month. Candidates can also access past webinars on the coalition’s website.

The AccessLex Institute hosts the “How to Benefit from the Limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness Forgiveness Opportunity” webinar a few times a month. The 30-minute sessions guide candidates through the process and answer frequently asked questions. This event is free.

The National Education Association’s YouTube has a few PSLF webinars that explain how to apply for the program and common questions.

Dorothy H. Lewis