The big changes to public service loan forgiveness, explained

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For now, the Education Department offers reassuring words about its ability to fix many things itself in the next “several” months.

It’s a cold comfort, though, if you’ve been making payments for 14 years as a teacher and think you should have made it four years ago. After all, getting hundreds of dollars out of your monthly budget is a huge life change – and could finally mean being able to save for your own children’s education.

If you haven’t heard from the department in February, or haven’t seen any updates on statements and records that FedLoan, the entity that serves people already registered with the PSLF, call or send a message to FedLoan for advice. If that doesn’t provide any information, send a note to the ministry’s ombudsman’s office and request a review. And if that doesn’t work, contact your senators or congressmen’s constituency representatives and ask them to intervene on your behalf.

And if you’ve always had the right kind of loan but are hoping for a payment review, you should complete the standard PSLF form if you haven’t already or if you haven’t certified your job yet because you didn’t think you needed it.

You should get a refund, automatically, according to the ministry’s website, as long as you haven’t already received a full pardon (say, a year or two ago). If you have already done so, there will be no future refunds even if the current waivers mean that you have, in theory, made too many payments before your remittance.

The PSLF journey has been lonely and exasperating for so many. Many of them sympathize on Facebook in a program support group, where you can learn about the successes, failures, and tactics of others. The Reddit group on the program may offer a similar camaraderie. Both places should have frequent updates from individuals posting what they have heard from which entities about their progress or lack thereof.

The Student Loan Borrower Protection Center provides resources for borrowers and the Institute of Student Loan Advisors tries to answer questions from debtors. Many financial planners now also specialize in providing advice on student loans.


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