On Friday, October 1, 2021, National Public Radio (NPR) had an exclusive report that the U.S. Department of Education is about to offer a fix of a troubled loan forgiveness program which was supposed to relieve education loans for public servants—including child welfare workers.
The report by NPR: NPR Exclusive: Troubled Public Service Loan Forgiveness program will get overhaul. Indicated that this week the Education Department will unveil an overhaul of the program that could help both current and past workers who have not been able to get the loan forgiveness they were promised.
According to NPR “the changes will come in two phases — a long-term renovation to make the program easier to navigate, achieved through the federal process known as rule-making, and a temporary move using the department’s executive authority to retroactively relax the program’s rules to immediately help thousands of affected borrowers.”
The 2008 reauthorization of the Higher Ed Act (Higher Education Opportunity Act) had included a loan forgiveness program for people who worked as public servants defined to include several careers including child welfare workers, certain categories of teachers, some attorneys, and social workers. The requirement is that if you worked in one of these careers for ten years and faithfully paid you student loan over those 10 years (120 payments) the remainder of your loan would be forgiven.
The first set of eligible class of public servants was just a little more than two years ago but as it turned out, people were misinformed on which loan program they could be using in addition to other confusions over careers covered and other challenges. As a result, many people who should have benefited received no forgiveness and only a few thousand have benefitted.
NPR: “According to the source familiar with the Education Department’s plans, the agency will offer a temporary opportunity for anyone working in public service to get prior loan payments counted toward PSLF — even if those payments were going toward disqualified FFEL loans.
And the department is not just expanding the rules around loan type. Borrowers will also receive credit for payments made in the wrong repayment plan, regardless of whether the payment was made on time.
To qualify for this do-over, borrowers will need to apply for PSLF before Oct. 31, 2022.”