Overhaul of student loan forgiveness could mean big changes for PA educators

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Major changes are underway for the United States Department of Education’s civil service loan forgiveness program, which could have a big impact on some of Pennsylvania’s educators.

The program was established in 2007 and intended to provide student loan relief to public service workers, including teachers, paraprofessionals and professors, but it has long been plagued by bureaucratic issues that have made it difficult to l ‘eligibility.

The changes announced Wednesday allow eligible borrowers to complete a waiver to count all payments to the rebate program, regardless of loan program or payment plan.

Miguel Cardona, US Secretary of Education, said the department was ready to right the wrongs inflicted on teachers across the country.

“We want to make sure that we are doing everything in the agency to protect our borrowers, our students,” Cardona promised. “We serve our students. We must say this clearly, not only in our speeches, but in our actions. You have done so much to help our community. We made you a promise, and now it’s our turn to keep that promise.

Pennsylvania has the second highest average student debt in the country, according to the Institute for College Access and Success.

As part of the program, the rest of your student debt is written off after 120 monthly payments have been made while working full time for a nonprofit or government employer.

Jessica Giordano, course director of the genetic counseling program at Columbia University, graduated in 2008, and when asked about her student loan forgiveness in 2017, she was told she was was on the wrong loan plan and was not eligible.

Giordano said that in the future she hopes the forgiveness program will be simplified.

“If you’re making your payments and you’re responsible and doing your job, I think it should just be streamlined and easy,” Giordano argued. “Because this complexity just gives the impression that the government doesn’t really want to cancel the loans. “

Challenges remain for the remission program as the Pennsylvania Higher Education Association, which operates one of the Department of Education’s primary student loan managers, FedLoan, will not renew its contract with the federal government when it expires in December. According to the most recent data available from 2019, 65% of Pennsylvania college graduates have student debt.


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