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Apply for a utility loan forgiveness, before the waiver window closes

The window created by the Limited Public Service Loan Waiver (PSLF) will close in four months, and the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) wants to ensure that scholars have the opportunity to receive the benefits of the waiver. .

“Most full-time college and university employees are now eligible for the PSLF program,” said Kathryn Enke, board secretary and presidential initiatives strategist at AAC&U.

Enke hosted hundreds of campus leaders and student borrowers for a webinar aimed at helping those working in public or non-profit institutions understand how to apply for this forgiveness, and to do so well before the waiver ends. on October 31, 2022. .

Ashley Harrington, Senior Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer at the Office of Federal Student Assistance at the US Department of Education.Since the U.S. Department of Education (ED) announced it on Oct. 6, 2021, the PSLF Limited Waiver has already approved $7.3 billion in loan forgiveness, helping 127,150 people qualify for relief. debt relief. The waiver was so successful that more than 1.1 million people were able to take advantage of it, and more than 250,000 borrowers received two or more years of additional credit for their loan forgiveness, according to the Federal Bureau of help for ED students.

The waiver makes many changes to the traditional rules that describe PSLF. Provided a borrower’s loans are consolidated into a direct consolidation loan by October 31, the waiver allows any past repayment period to count towards the PSLF. And, even if payments were late or less than expected, they will still be considered credit for the 120 payments required to receive the PSLF.

“You can now get credit for repayment time when it was a Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program or a Perkins loan,” said Ashley Harrington, Senior Advisor to the Director. of operations at the Federal Office of Student Aid. Prior to the waiver, FFEL and Perkins loans were not eligible for the PSLF payment credit.

Harrington spoke to attendees not just as an expert, but as a borrower herself. Harrington borrowed as a graduate student to attend New York University Law School.

“We don’t care what payment plan you’re on. All we care about is whether you’re in active repayment status, which we generously set,” Harrington said. whether you are late, miss a payment, or miss a dollar, as long as you are not in default or adjourned from school.”

Prior to the limited PSLF exemption, borrowers could only receive the PSLF if they were currently employed in a place of public service. As defined by PSLF rules, eligible public service jobs are offered by nonprofits or government agencies, which includes teaching in public schools and working in the military.

Now, the waiver allows borrowers to apply for loan forgiveness even if they are not currently working in a qualifying workplace. It also allows individuals to perform gaps between civil service jobs. As long as the person applying can prove that they have worked a total of at least 30 hours per week, even at multiple jobs, they can still qualify for the PSLF credit.

“If I work part-time at a university and part-time at a state agency and I do 15 hours a week at each, that’s 30 hours a week,” Harrington said. “We’re not going to ask you what you’re doing. All we care about is who pays you.

While many student loans have been suspended by the federal government during COVID, Harrington reminded those in attendance that PSLF credit for payment will still be granted even if a borrower has not made any payments during the pause.

“It doesn’t seem to make sense, and it doesn’t seem like it should, but as long as you were still employed full-time, even if you didn’t pay anything, you can get credit for each of these months, I promise,” Harrington said.

Receiving a credit from the COVID-related break means the average PSLF applicant will receive 20% of their 120 eligible payment credits without spending a dime, which Harrington said is “a really big deal.”

“Get your forms now, don’t wait,” Harrington said. “Right now you can bundle older and newer loans and get credit. But after October 31, this is no longer the case.

Liann Herder can be contacted at

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