With the increasing cost of education and the challenges for recent graduates and parents, opportunities to reduce or eliminate college debt can be life changing. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average student may borrow up to $22,000 before graduation; approximately 280,000 of these individual borrowers default on their payments between years 3 and 5.
The newly established Loan Forgiveness Program set forth by the Department of Education enables public service employees, federal government, and military employees to reduce their federal student loans and/or apply for debt forgiveness after making only 120 payments. Called the PSLF, employees that owe more than then their annual salary can have thousands of dollars forgiven, and/or payments lowered. Being free of student debt loan is a life changing opportunity for many; the program is pretty simple to understand.
First, to qualify for loan forgiveness, you must owe more on your federal loans that you make in one year (income vs. debt requirement). Next, the loans must be ‘qualifying’, meaning that they must be federal to include: Stafford, FFEL, Perkins, etc. 120 payments through an income-based repayment plan must be made on time. Employers must be a qualified government organization to include military, state, local, tribal; some non-profits are also accepted. Employees must be full time workers (at least 30 hours per week) with said qualified employers. Finally, annual certification of personal information must be completed as part of the program requirements. The following link: Forgiveness Cancellation provides details on qualified employment, payment criteria, forms, application, and more to include answers to many common questions surrounding this program.
Congress members, however, are not eligible for this student loan repayment program as they are ineligible for public service loan forgiveness. However, Congressional staff are eligible with a $60,000 cap on loan forgiveness in the U.S. House of Representatives ($10,000 per year), as well as a $40,000 cap in the U.S. Senate at $6,000 per year.
There is also another student loan repayment program that federal employees can apply for today; $10,000 per year for up to six years can be obtained. For more details about this opportunity, please see the following link: Student Loan Payoff
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