Thanks to Temporary Changes, U.S. Department of Education Announces Public Service Loan Forgiveness Surpasses $10 Billion in Debt Relief

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Thanks to Temporary Changes, U.S. Department of Education Announces Public Service Loan Forgiveness Surpasses $10 Billion in Debt Relief

Department continues to encourage borrowers to apply for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) before October 31 waiver deadline
August 23, 2022

Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced that it has approved more than $10 billion in debt relief for over 175,000 borrowers in 10 months through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. This follows changes the Department announced in October 2021 that transformed the program by changing certain rules to make it easier for public servants with federal student loans to have their debts cancelled.

“For far too long, teachers, nurses, veterans, government employees, and countless others dedicated to serving our country found Public Service Loan Forgiveness to be nothing more than an empty promise, and before President Biden took office, only 7,000 borrowers ever managed to qualify,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Today’s announcement that we’ve surpassed $10 billion in forgiveness for more than 175,000 public servants shows that the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to cut red tape are turning the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program from a promise broken into a promise kept. We’re committed to helping borrowers who choose to pursue careers in education, public health, social work, law enforcement, and other critical fields receive the benefits to which they’re entitled for leading lives of service.”

Borrowers in states across the country continue to benefit from the temporary changes to the PSLF program and more than 1 million borrowers have also received additional credit toward forgiveness, with the typical borrower receiving more than a year’s worth of progress. The Department is encouraging individuals to take action before the October 31 deadline. Federal student loan borrowers who are eligible can receive credit for payments that would otherwise not qualify for the program.

Temporary Changes to PSLF

The temporary changes allow student borrowers to get credit for payments made on loans from Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program, Perkins Loan Program, and other federal student loans. These borrowers must apply to consolidate their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan before the deadline of October 31 to qualify for the program under the temporary changes.

Additionally, under the temporary changes, past periods of repayment count whether or not borrowers were on a qualifying repayment plan or whether ornot borrowers made payments.

Most borrowers who work or worked for a non-profit, or federal, state, Tribal or local government since 2007 and who were repaying their loans are eligible. Borrowers can also combine multiple sources of part-time employment to qualify and months in service do not have to be consecutive.

“The Department recognizes this relief has made a meaningful difference in the lives of public service workers and non-profit employees and encourages borrowers to visit to learn more about the program before the October 31 deadline,” said Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal.

The Biden-Harris Administration is leading four PSLF Days of Action, each focused on a different public sector, to encourage public servants across the nation to take advantage of temporary changes to the PSLF program. A PSLF toolkit for employers can be found here and stakeholders can use the toolkit found here.

Today’s announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader efforts to get students and borrowers the benefits to which they are entitled. These efforts include enacting lasting policies to make college more affordable and preventing a future debt crisis by holding schools accountable for leaving students with mountains of debt and without the skills and preparation to find good jobs.

To date, $32 billion in student loan relief has been approved for over 1.6 million borrowers. This includes:

  • $13 billion for 1 million borrowers whose institutions took advantage of them through discharges related to borrower defense and school closures;
  • More than $10 billion for over 175,000 borrowers through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program; and
  • $9 billion in total and permanent disability discharges for more than 425,000 borrowers.

The Department is also working on new regulations that will permanently improve a variety of the existing student loan forgiveness program by significantly reducing monthly payments and providing greater protections for borrowers.