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#1 Posted : Wednesday, October 6, 2021 7:00:27 AM(UTC)

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"Service members, teachers and other public servants who have been shut out of a controversial student loan forgiveness program will get another chance at debt cancellation, the Education Department said Wednesday.

The federal agency will temporarily allow all payments borrowers made on federal student loans to count toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness, regardless of the loan program or payment plan. It estimates the move will bring more than 550,000 people closer to debt cancellation, including 22,000 who will be immediately eligible.

“Borrowers who devote a decade of their lives to public service should be able to rely on the promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness. The system has not delivered on that promise to date, but that is about to change for many borrowers who have served their communities and their country,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said Wednesday....

To address some of those technicalities, the Education Department is counting payments made under the following scenarios:

People who made payments on loans originated through the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).
People who consolidated their FFELP loans into the Direct Loan program. Typically, only payments made after the consolidation would qualify for forgiveness, but now those made previously also will qualify.
People who have made 120 payments on a Direct Loan, but in the wrong repayment plan.
Active-duty members of the military whose loans are deferred or in forbearance while they’re serving.

To benefit, borrowers must submit an application used to verify their employment by Oct. 31, 2022. Those with FFELP loans will have to consolidate into the Direct Loan program and submit the application. Military service members and federal employees will receive automatic credit toward forgiveness without an application through data matches beginning next year.
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