The U.S. Department of Education is making it easier for student loan borrowers in public service positions to benefit from Public Service Loan Forgiveness by easing requirements with a temporary executive action. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Oct. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Education issued changes to public service loans to remove barriers between borrowers and student loan debt relief.
A one-time executive action will impact borrowers in qualifying public service jobs, such as military, law enforcement and healthcare, as well as employees with nonprofit organizations, the Department of Education announced Tuesday. This action will take the department to the implementation of permanent changes to the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program taking effect in July.
"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," said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona.
The PSLF program cancels debt from qualifying borrowers if they have made on-time payments for 10 years. The changes to the program will ease and streamline requirements, opening the door for even more people to benefit from relief.
Cardona urged borrowers in eligible positions to apply for a PSFL waiver by the deadline Oct. 31. They can receive credit for 120 PSFL payments, regardless of if they are made late or not. This also applies to payments that were not made in full. The rules before the executive action require payments to be made in full within 15 days of their due date to qualify.
The department is also removing the negative impacts of loan consolidation. Borrowers will maintain their repayment progress even after consolidating debt. They can receive credit for loans in deferment and forbearance as well.
Student loan forgiveness has been a hot topic throughout President Joe Biden's term in office. After promising relief during his campaign for presidency in 2020, Biden officially announced his student loan forgiveness program in August this year. It will allow borrowers to be forgiven of up to $20,000 in student loans, affecting an estimated 40 million people. Unlike PSFL, that loan forgiveness program is not exclusive to public service.