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Thousands of public service workers have student loans forgiven

More than 44,000 people who have worked in public service for over a decade will have their federal student debt erased.
Thousands of public service workers have student loans forgiven
Posted at 8:02 AM, Jan 19, 2024

The Biden administration announced that it has approved student debt cancellation for nearly 74,000 borrowers, the majority of whom work in public service. 

According to the White House, 44,000 public service workers, such as teachers and nurses, will have their debt erased after 10 years of work. An additional 30,000 people who have been in repayment for 20 years also are having their debt canceled. The exact timing of when these borrowers can stop making payments is unknown. 

Combined with previous actions, the Biden administration said 3.7 million Americans have had their federal student loan debt canceled since President Joe Biden took office. 

"My Administration is able to deliver relief to these borrowers – and millions more – because of fixes we made to broken student loan programs that were preventing borrowers from getting relief they were entitled to under the law," Biden said in a statement. 

Public service workers are eligible for debt cancellation after making the equivalent of 120 qualifying monthly payments under an accepted repayment plan while working full-time for an eligible employer. 

SEE MORE: Student loan borrowers are struggling to make repayments

Borrowers in income-driven repayment plans have long been eligible for forgiveness after 20 years.

In July 2023, the government made changes to how it would count how much time borrowers were in repayments. This meant nearly 901,000 borrowers who took out student loans at least 20 years ago became eligible for loan forgiveness. 

Those who had their payments deferred after 2013 for economic or military hardship can now apply that time toward having their loan forgiven. Also, those who spent over 12 consecutive months in forbearance or over 36 months of cumulative forbearance can apply their time toward paying off their loans. 

The announcement comes a week after the White House said that student loan borrowers enrolled in the Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) Plan who have made payments for at least 10 years and originally took out up to $12,000 will be eligible for forgiveness. Eligible borrowers will have their loans automatically forgiven. 

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