NJs Efforts to Improve Access to Student Loan Forgiveness for Public Employees. New Federal Policy Expanding Eligibility for Public Service Loan Forgiveness Will Help Tens of Thousands of New Jersey Borrowers by Canceling the Balance of Their Federal Student Loans
*updated 5/25/2022 for clarity and legislative announcements -
Governor Phil Murphy, U.S. Under Secretary of Education James Kvaal, and Federal Student Aid Chief Operating Officer Rich Cordray visited The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) today (May 23) for a roundtable discussion with public service employees.
Their conversation aimed to highlight the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program.
Through the federal program, employees of federal, state, local, or tribal government, or not-for-profit organizations may be eligible for student loan forgiveness.
Last October, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) announced a limited PSLF waiver opportunity, which resulted in 22,000 borrowers being immediately eligible for $1.74 billion in loan forgiveness.
“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.”
More information about:
Federal Waiver Expands Eligibility for PSLF:
A recent federal waiver will make student loan borrowers who were previously ineligible for the PSLF program—because they had an ineligible loan, made payments on the wrong payment plan, or made a late payment—eligible to receive credit toward forgiveness for those years they worked in public service.
Currently, there are approximately 30,700 borrowers in New Jersey who participate in the program, around 57% of which are government employees.
So far, nearly 3,000 New Jersey borrowers have been approved for loan forgiveness through PSLF since the recent updates in program eligibility.
Eligible residents should apply for the program before the October 31, 2022 deadline.
State and Federal Coordination Aims to Improve Access by Streamlining PSLF Application Process:
The Murphy Administration is also working with the US Department of Education to help streamline the program’s application process for public employees.
It would take a borrower ten years to make the required 120 monthly payments to qualify for student loan forgiveness. During that time, the borrower must work for a federal, state, local, or tribal government, or not-for-profit organization.
Under a waiver announced in October 2021, borrowers may receive credit for past periods of repayment that would otherwise not qualify for PSLF.
- Past periods of repayment now count whether or not you made a payment, made that payment on time, for the full amount due, or on a qualifying repayment plan.
- Months spent in deferment before 2013 will count under the waiver.
The PSLF application still needs to be printed for signatures, but you are now able to submit it online. Additionally, the newly released PSLF Help Tool reduces "the administrative burden on applicants," making it easier for eligible employees to navigate the application process for the PSLF program, and (theoretically) increasing the percentage of eligible employees that take part in the program.
“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 organizations,” 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.”
Click here to see if you’re eligible for the PSLF Program.