Governor Murphy, U.S. Department of Education Leader Highlight Efforts to Improve Access to Student Loan Forgiveness for Public Employees

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By Adam Rizvi, TIO. EWING, NEW JERSEY –  Today, Governor Phil Murphy, U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal, and Federal Student Aid Cheif Operating Officer Rich Cordray met with public service employees at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) for a roundtable discussion about the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program and steps that the Murphy Administration is taking to help more public servants obtain student loan forgiveness.

The US Department of Education (Department) issued a limited PSLF waiver opportunity last October, which temporarily waives specific program requirements in order to better deliver on the PSLF promise to public service employees with federal student loans. The Murphy Administration is also working with the Department to help public employees apply for the program more quickly.

“Employees in the public and non-profit sectors provide invaluable services to our state and our nation, from defending our country to teaching the next generation, and everything in between,” said Governor Murphy. “The federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program rewards these dedicated public servants by offering a path to student loan forgiveness, but many borrowers may not realize they qualify. By working with our federal partners to streamline the application process and highlight recent changes that expand eligibility for PSLF, we will encourage more student loan borrowers to get involved in public service and take advantage of this helpful program.”

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“Since taking office, the Biden-Harris Administration has worked hard to tackle existing student loan debt. I am proud that we are turning the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program from a promise broken into a promise kept for borrowers who devote a decade of their lives to public service,” said U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal. “Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, Rich Cordray, and I are pleased to support Governor Murphy’s efforts to ensure all eligible New Jersey residents get the student loan relief they have earned and deserve. I hope other states will follow suit by sharing with their residents the ways that they can take advantage of this opportunity.”

Employees of federal, state, local, or tribal government or not-for-profit organizations may be eligible for PSLF. The program forgives the remaining balance on certain federal student loans after borrowers have made 120 qualifying monthly payments and meet other specific criteria.

Federal Waiver Expands Eligibility for PSLF

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Due to a new federal waiver, student loan borrowers who were previously ineligible for the PSLF program- due to an ineligible loan, incorrect payment plan, or late payment- will again be able to receive credit toward forgiveness for the years they served in public service.

Approximately 30,700 borrowers in New Jersey are currently enrolled in the program, with 57 percent of them being government employees. Because of the recent changes, approximately 3,000 New Jersey borrowers have been eligible for loan forgiveness through PSLF.

The Governor and federal officials highlighted this waiver during today’s roundtable to raise awareness about this helpful change and encourage eligible residents to apply for the program before the October 31, 2022 deadline, in addition to ongoing efforts by the Department and the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) to notify borrowers of the change.

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State and Federal Coordination Aims to Improve Access by Streamlining PSLF Application Process. 

The joint initiatives announced today will make it easier for eligible employees to navigate the PSLF application process by decreasing the administrative burden on applicants, with the goal of increasing the number of employees who are eligible for forgiveness.

“The new federal policy expanding eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness will help tens of thousands of New Jersey borrowers by canceling the balances of their federal student loans- including those who have served our communities as teachers, nurses, first responders, military service members, or other public servants at governmental or non-profit organization, “ said David J Socolow, Executive Director of the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA). “Today’s announcement that the state will work with the U.S. Department of Education to streamline the application process will enable current State employees to receive life-changing forgiveness of their federal student loans. As the state’s financial aid authority, HESAA is using our network to build awareness statewide about this important opportunity for federal student loan relief.”

“Public employees work tirelessly to improve the lives of all New Jerseyans, however, their compensation often does not compare to that of private-sector jobs, These teachers, first responders, and civil servants are critical to keeping our State running and we must support them,” said Assemblyman Bill Moen (D-Camden, Gloucester), who participated in today’s roundtable. “Without programs like the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, many public employees would be burdened with a significant amount of debt, myself included. Expanding the PSLF program with waivers to help people get credit for their past payments is a step in the right direction. I encourage all eligible public employees to take advantage of this opportunity while it is still available.”

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Curated By Leen Hamade

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