Kevin Maier is one of only 96 people who qualify for government loan relief
Earlier this month, CNBC tracked down one of the first people to qualify for student debt relief under the government loan relief program, which allows certain nonprofit and state employees to retire their federal student loans after 10 years of time payments.
“I feel pretty lucky,” said Kevin Maier, a full professor at the University of Alaska Southeast.
He really should.
The Ministry of Education has just released data on how many loans it has made under the program. The results are dire.
Only 96 people across the country were cleared of debt thanks to public service loan waiver. Last year was the first year of eligibility as the program went into effect in 2007 and it requires at least 10 years of payments to qualify. Almost 30,000 borrowers have applied for waiver, according to the Ministry of Education.
This means that less than 1 percent of people who applied for public service loan waiver actually received it.
A quarter of American workers should be eligible, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated a few years ago. But last year the office reported that student loan service providers Delay or refusal by borrowers Access to the program.
It found that most people in the public sector believe they will pay their way for lending, only to discover it at some point in the process that they don’t qualify for one or another technical reason.
Debbie Baker, an Oklahoma public school music teacher, paid off her student loan for 10 years while she believed she was on her way to debt relief.
“Year after year I said to them, ‘Now I am going to go for public loan lending,’ and they said, ‘Okay. Well, you can’t apply before 2017,'” Baker said of her conversations with Navient, one of the largest student loan provider in the country.
These are the requirements for obtaining public service loans. If you don’t meet one of them, there are many ways you can change that.
- Your loans must be federal direct loans.
- Your employer must be any level government organization, 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, or any other type of non-profit organization that provides public services.
- In the end, you must have made 120 qualified, on-time payments on either an earnings-based repayment plan or the standard repayment plan.
In July, after making payments for 10 years, she tried to certify her forgiveness, but was told that she did not qualify because she did the wrong guy of the federal student loan.
“I almost vomited,” said Baker. “I’ve been teaching for 18 years and I’m still not making $ 40,000 – and now I have to start from scratch.”
Even consumer advocates with low expectations of the program were surprised by the newly released data.
“I don’t think there were only 96 people who owe federal loan money and have worked in the public sector in the past 10 years,” said Persis Yu, director of the student loan relief project at the National Consumer Law Center. a non-profit advocacy group.
“To have a student loan system that has to be perfect to get the benefits, setting up for 43 million borrowers is not a reasonable expectation,” she said.
When you’ve made the 120 qualifying payments for government loan relief, we want to hear from you. Please send an email to: [email protected]