This piece was originally published in MarketWatch – This Government Loan Forgiveness Program has Rejected 99% of Borrowers so Far
So far, roughly 99% of processed applications for forgiveness under a government program aimed at helping public servants manage their federal student-loan debt had their applications rejected.
As of June 30 of this year, about 28,000 borrowers submitted 33,300 applications to have their loans discharged under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, an initiative launched in 2007 that allows borrowers who work in certain types of public service to have their federal student loans wiped away after 10 years of payments. Of the roughly 29,000 applications processed so far, 96 borrowers have had about $5.52 million in debt discharged under the program, according to a government report released Wednesday.
Of the roughly 29,000 applications processed so far, 96 borrowers have had about $5.52 million in debt discharged under the program.
Experts expect the number of approved applications to rise dramatically in the coming years. When the program launched in 2007, there was little publicity or clarity around it. What’s more, many of the repayment programs that borrowers can use if they want to qualify for the program weren’t yet available then. It’s likely few public servants took advantage of it right away and would already be eligible for forgiveness. Fall 2017 was the first time borrowers could apply to have their loans discharged under the program.
But the high rate of rejections highlights the challenges of the program. Many who watch PSLF closely have been concerned for years that its complicated mix of requirements would make it difficult for borrowers to access…
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Still, Natalia Abrams, the executive director of Student Debt Crisis, an advocacy organization that conducts monthly webinars to help borrowers understand PSLF, said she regularly encounters relatively savvy borrowers — sometimes with advanced degrees — who believe they’re following the program’s requirements, but actually aren’t. “These are people who do think they’ve dotted all their ‘i’s or crossed their ‘t’s she said.
Abrams recommends that borrowers hoping to avoid the shock of rejection after 10 years in public service file an Employment Certification Form every year….