Today, the Department of Education announced steps that will bring borrowers closer to public service loan and income-driven repayment (IDR) forgiveness by addressing historical failures in the administration of the federal student loan programs. Federal Student Aid (FSA) estimates that these changes will result in immediate debt cancellation for at least 40,000 borrowers under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. Several thousand borrowers with older loans will also receive forgiveness through IDR. More than 3.6 million borrowers will also receive at least three years of additional credit toward IDR forgiveness.”

The U.S. Department of Education

Have you found it difficult to repay federal student loans? Would you like to get your loans partially forgiven and some or all of your debt canceled?

If so, help could be on the way, according to changes announced by the U.S. Department of Education.

How the Changes Came About

On Monday, April 18, 2022, the chairs of both House and Senate education committees (Rep. Bobby Scott, D-VA and Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA), wrote a letter to Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, urging him to “provide immediate relief and undo past harms.”

Miguel Cardona agreed to take steps to amend years of complaints and lawsuits from borrowers who were participating in income-driven repayment (IDR) plans that were established by the government.

Income-driven repayment (IDR) plans were designed to make student loan debt more manageable by reducing monthly payment amounts. To qualify, students had to submit documents showing that their income made it difficult to repay their loans on time and according to schedule.

The changes also come at the urging of NPR, which recently investigated problems that borrowers were experiencing when repaying their loans. NPR found that some borrowers have been unable to repay loans that they took decades ago. In 2021, a total of 4.4 million borrowers had been making payments to their loans for 20 years or more, but only 32 borrowers had had their loan dept canceled under IDR.

The U.S. Department of Education Is Making Changes that Should Help

The U.S. Department of Education says it will retroactively help millions of federal student loan borrowers who have been hurt and held back by an inability to repay IDR loans.

The department and its office of Federal Student Aid (FSA) have now pledged to conduct a “one-time account adjustment” to give borrowers credit against their outstanding debt.

How You Can Learn about Getting a Credit You Can Apply to Help Repay a Federal Student Loan

To learn about these changes, visit the U.S. Department of Education’s website and read the advisory you will find there.

As we write today’s post, information has not yet been released about steps you can take to obtain credits against the outstanding balances of your loans. Be sure to visit the U.S. Department of Education website for information as it is released.

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