DOE: 100,000 student loan borrowers eligible for debt cancellation

Nearly 100,000 people are now eligible for student loan debt cancellation under a new waiver program established last year, the Department of Education announced on Wednesday.

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The agency said that the cancellations would apply to those who were affected by changes made last October to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, or PSLF, according to CNN.

Under the original PSLF, eligible borrowers were promised that their student loan debt would be canceled after they paid up the debt over 10 years.

However, the program’s rules were complex, and borrowers have been complaining that their loans were not forgiven when they should have been.

“Our nation’s public service workers must be able to rely on the promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The Biden-Harris administration is delivering on that promise by helping more and more eligible borrowers get their loan balances forgiven,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona in a statement.

“The PSLF announcement made today means more of our dedicated teachers, nurses, first responders, servicemembers, and many other public service workers will get meaningful relief.”

PSLF was established in 2007 and allowed borrowers to wipe out their federal student loans after 10 years of “qualifying payments” while working full-time for nonprofit or public organizations.

Last year, the Biden administration created the limited PSLF waiver, which aimed to expand the types of payments that student borrowers working in public service can count toward student loan forgiveness.

The program applied to those with direct loans, those who have consolidated into the direct loan program or those who submitted an application to the direct loan program while the waiver is in effect.

The agency established a detailed website with guidance on the waiver program.

Many borrowers don’t have to take any action in order to have the Department of Education review and update the number of their qualifying payments, CNN reported.

But some will be required to consolidate older federal family education loans into direct loans if they have not already done so. Payments made before consolidation will now count toward receiving relief, according to the DOE.

Those who already have direct loans but have not submitted employment certification forms for past periods of repayment must also do that to get the loan forgiveness.

Borrowers have until Oct. 31, 2022, to make those changes to qualify for forgiveness.