The Department of Education (ED) on Monday announced that over 615,000 borrowers received Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) since October 2021, due to previous temporary PSLF changes made by the Biden administration.
Since October 2021, ED said it has forgiven $42 billion in student loans through the PSLF program, following a period of slow approvals under the Trump administration.
The increase is due in part to the temporary PSLF waiver, which launched in October 2021, that gave borrowers credit for prior payments that would not otherwise count toward PSLF. Any prior payments made while working for a qualifying employer still counted as a qualifying payment, regardless of loan type or repayment plan. The temporary waiver expired on Oct. 31, 2022.
But ED in October 2022 also issued final rules on the PSLF program, which codified some of the provisions of the temporary PSLF waiver announced in 2021. ED said the final rules, which will take effect on July 1, 2023, will help borrowers earn progress toward PSLF, simplify criteria to help borrowers certify qualifying employment, and provide opportunities for borrowers to get help correcting PSLF account problems.
“Since Day One, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked relentlessly to fix a broken student loan system, including by making sure we fulfill the promise of Public Service Loan Forgiveness for those who have spent a decade or more serving our communities and our country,” said Education Secretary Miguel Cardona in a statement. “The difference that Public Service Loan Forgiveness is making in the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans reminds us why we must continue doing everything we can to fight for borrowers and why families cannot afford to have progress derailed by partisan politicians.”
Additionally, ED announced improvements to its PSLF Help Tool. Specifically, borrowers will be able to apply for the PSLF program completely online. That means borrowers can submit e-signatures for themselves and request e-signatures from their employers, rather than faxing or mailing in their application with a wet signature. That update will significantly decrease processing time, ED said. Borrowers will also be able to track the status of their PSLF application in their StudentAid.gov account.
“FSA is making the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program as easy as possible so all public servants can finally get the loan forgiveness they have earned,” said Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer Richard Cordray in a statement. “The improved PSLF Help Tool is another step forward to modernize and simplify the process for people who rely on us to carry out the law effectively.”
Publication Date: 5/9/2023