Three decades ago, Jason Harmon, an Arkansas man completed his college degree after attending the University of Arkansas. Shortly after he entered into an income-based repayment plan, which allowed him to make payments each month towards his balance and interest charges.
Faithfully making payments over the course of the next 25 years, he was under the assumption that like the program initially promised, his debts would be completely forgiven after the plan was completed.
However, as Harmon approaches his 27th year post-college graduation, he remains shocked at the fact that his balance still shows $47,000 dollars. During that time he raised a family, purchased a home, and lived a rather modest life.
Like many borrowers, he entered into his loan agreement with the hopes of becoming debt-free by the time he'd reached his fifties. Even though he lost his job as a journalist during the housing recession, he never stopped making the payments as he struggled to maintain his lifestyle while still meeting his obligations.
Nearly a decade ago, his loan servicer unexpectedly changed, causing him to be required to enroll in an alternate income-based plan. Eventually he discovered that his servicer failed to keep track of his payments over the course of the two previous decades. This caused him to lose out on the loan forgiveness that he so anxiously awaited.
For now Harmon, as well as more than 3 million additional borrowers are loooking to the Department of Education to keep the promise contained in the loan agreements all of those decades ago.