Student Loan Forgiveness Updates
CCCS Announces Major Updates to New Student Loan Forgiveness Program
CCCS Operates the Only Local Student Loan Counseling Program Available in WNY Region
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) today announced more updates in the world of Student Loans and Loan Forgiveness. Last month, CCCS detailed major, long awaited changes to student loan forgiveness, the most important of which was:
- For those earning less than $125,000 a year—or couples with incomes under $250,000--up to $10,000 in federal student loan debt will be forgiven. If individuals used Pell grants to attend college (which are reserved for students with greatest financial need), up to $20,000 in federal student loan debt will be forgiven.
This came on the heels of the overhaul of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program, where significant changes enabled hundreds of thousands of loan recipients to access loan forgiveness. Launched in 2007, the PSLF was designed to encourage college students toward employment in public service professions such as teaching, healthcare, human service work, military service, civic and government work for ten years. After making regular monthly loan payments 120 times (equaling ten years); the government pledged to forgive the remaining balance of the individual’s student loans.
The PSLF was initially met with much excitement. However, when the first generation of borrowers to complete 10 years of public service began applying for PSLF loan forgiveness in 2017-2018, the denial rate was 99%.
Through the “limited PSLF waiver”, which refers to time-limited changes to the PSLF Program rules, past loan payments that were previously ineligible will now count, moving some borrowers closer to the finish line. Borrowers who have worked 10 years in a qualifying job may be eligible for loan relief no matter what kind of federal loan or repayment plan they have. Previously loans from the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) Program and the Federal Perkins Loan Program did not qualify for the PSLF, but borrowers may now act by consolidating their loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan by Oct. 31, 2022 in order to make them eligible.
Today’s announcement includes more good news.
Major New Changes Announced:
- Borrowers with federal student loans that are currently in default with a temporary opportunity for a “Fresh Start” in repayment. The Fresh Start program eliminates the impact of delinquency and default and will allow borrowers to reenter repayment in good standing when the payment pause ends. The loans eligible for Fresh Start are Direct Loans, FFEL loans (regardless of whether they are Department-held or commercially held), and Department-held Perkins Loans that entered the payment pause in default.
- Payments made during the pandemic—during a national pause on payments—can be refunded. People who want refunds should contact their Loan Servicers by November 15th. Mandatory student loan payments as well as interest accrual have been “on pause” since March 13, 2020, the beginning of the pandemic. 98.8% of borrowers did not make payments during this time period but those who did can receive refunds. About 37 million student loan borrowers skipped nearly $200 million in payments during the pause, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- Until October 31, 2022, there is a one-time waiver from many of the complex requirements of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) for borrowers who work full-time in public service jobs and make 120 qualifying monthly payments through an eligible repayment plan.
Payment Pause Extended Until January 1, 2023
President Biden officially extended the “student loan payment pause” until January 1, 2023. Interest rates will remain at 0% until repayments start in January 2023. Biden states that this will be the last extension for student loan payments.
With just about 70% of college graduates leaving school with student loan debt, it is certain that student loans will continue to be part of the landscape for much of the WNY community. Last year, the average per person debt was $35,397 and the typical monthly payment--$393 per month. At current time, nearly 2.4 million New Yorkers have outstanding student loans totaling more than $90 billion combined.
Consumer Credit Counseling Service (CCCS) operates the only Student Loan Counseling Program in all of Western New York and encourages area residents to contact them at 716-712-2060 or www.consumercreditbuffalo.org for help with student loans or for any type of financial issues.
CCCS designed its program to specifically meet the needs of the growing population segment of student loan borrowers. Certified Financial Counselors understand that many of those coming for help feel overwhelmed with anxiety and fear and often see individuals who have fallen prey to the abundance of unscrupulous companies claiming to help.
CCCS urges everyone to take positive action that will promote financial stability: For those interested in any type of help--call 716-712-2060 or visit www.consumercreditbuffalo.org