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 October 13, 2021

Changes to the PSLF Student Loan Forgiveness Program: Are You Eligible?

Collage of women graduating college and upset about student loan debt

What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF), and what’s the problem?

Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Progam (PSLF) in 2007 to encourage more college grads to pursue jobs in public service. The promise: If employees of governments or nonprofits committed to 10 years of monthly payments on their federal student loans, the rest would be forgiven or canceled.

The problem was, Americans have learned over the years that forgiveness is not exactly a piece of cake to achieve. Several murky, complicated requirements have led to a 98% rejection rate for forgiveness. It turns out, the program is not as forgiving as its name.

For example, there has been confusion around which student loan payments count toward forgiveness, which types of student loans are eligible, which employers qualify, at what point payments begin to matter, and more.

After several years, problems continue to plague the program. And while new changes are on the horizon, more questions are cropping up on eligibility.

What’s changing with student loan forgiveness?

As Washington works on making several updated rules, the goal is to grant forgiveness to millions of additional Americans. With that said, the key takeaways in the program will be to:

  • Count previously made payments toward student loan forgiveness
  • Count payments made for Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans
  • Receive forgiveness if you used the incorrect student loan repayment program
  • Count payments made before student loan consolidation
  • Members of the military can receive credit for payments while on active duty
  • Clarifying definitions and relaxing specific rules

Why it’s so important to understand these changes:

Student loan forgiveness can be confusing to navigate, and over the years, Americans have challenged the rules in court.

While some are fighting for debt cancellation, millions of others have to continue making payments for the next several years.

If you have student debt and have previously applied for forgiveness, these changes may help. Still, we recommend receiving legal consultation to answer your questions as you navigate canceling your debt.

While the new rules may bring relief to many, there are still tens of millions of Americans who carry a total of $1.7 trillion in student loan debt. As you wait on Washington to continue to work and reshape the student loan issue, it’s wise to consult with a provider lawyer and learn how to best tackle debt.

Talk to your LegalShield provider lawyer to understand the laws surrounding student debt.

Student loan debt continues to burden millions of Americans, and your rights to receive forgiveness may be changing and evolving. Talk to your provider lawyer to navigate debt cancellation, and they will help you understand your options.

Pre-Paid Legal Services, Inc. d/b/a LegalShield (“LegalShield”) provides access to legal services offered by a network of provider law firms to LegalShield members through membership-based participation. Neither LegalShield nor its officers, employees or sales associates directly or indirectly provide legal services, representation or advice. This is meant to provide general information and is not intended to provide legal advice, render an opinion, or provide any specific recommendations. If you are a LegalShield member, please contact your provider law firm for legal advice or assistance. 

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