New Legislation Enables Public Servants’ Immediate Access to Student Loan Forgiveness

J.M. Lesinski

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A shot of Boston Town Hall in Boston, New York.Photo by J.M. Lesinski

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently simplified access to the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program across New York state. PSLF rewards public service work via cancellation of a portion of borrowers’ federal student loans, requiring full-time employment and one hundred and twenty qualifying payments toward their existing student loan before it is forgiven.

"If you spend your days working for the people of New York, you shouldn't spend your nights worrying about how to pay us back. This legislation acknowledges the significant contributions of our public servants, first responders, educators and more, by helping unlock federal loan forgiveness for countless members of New York's workforce," Hochul stated of the legislation. "From the workers who ushered us through the pandemic to the everyday heroes who keep New York moving, public-sector and not-for-profit workers deserve to make the most of this benefit - but without headaches, delays, or confusion. I'm proud to sign this legislation that ensures public servants have the clarity and the support they need to access federal loan forgiveness, and I thank my partners in the Legislature for their thoughtfulness on this bill."

The newly passed legislation established a uniform set of guidelines around what qualifies as full-time work for the PSLF and makes certification easier overall.

"There's over half a million public servants in New York with student loan debt,” remarked New York State Assemblymember Harvey Epstein of the legislation. “Just 10,000 have had their loans cancelled through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program—we are working to raise that number significantly. A limited waiver that allows borrowers to receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF is in effect until October 31, 2022. This legislation maximizes New Yorkers' opportunity to benefit from the waiver, and PSLF generally. From applying a multiplier to teachers' in-class hours so that hours worked outside of class are more accurately reflected, to ensuring that agencies can transmit paperwork on behalf of workers to the federal government, our legislation will help more New Yorkers get their loans forgiven faster. I look forward to an ongoing partnership with Governor Hochul to continue our work for student borrowers and I want to thank Senator Thomas, the Student Borrower Protection Center, and labor leaders for their determined efforts to get this done."

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I have worked as a professional journalist for over five years now, covering the arts, music, food, politics, and culture up and down both coasts of the United States. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Fredonia with minors in Psychology and Creative Writing, as well as an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from California State University, Fresno.

Buffalo, NY
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