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U.S. Department Of Education To Relieve Student Loan Debt To Over 40,000 Borrowers

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - More than 40 million Americans owe more than a trillion dollars in student loan debt.

This week, the Department of Education announced fixes to the system that could bring relief -- or even immediate forgiveness -- to millions of borrowers.

Experts say they don't know exactly how many people will get their loan balances wiped clean. 

"The system was rigged for people like me," said adjunct professor Justine Hope Blau.

Adjunct professor Justine Hope Blau, who graduated film school in 1991, said she borrowed $39,000, but now faces around $260,000 of debt.

"I'm 66 and it keeps growing," Blau said.

She is among the millions of Americans still struggling to pay off student loans.

This week, The Department Of Education said it is now taking action to help address what it calls historical failures in the administration of the federal student loan programs.

"The history of this program is that it has been rife with abuses and problems, both on the servicing side and on the department of education side," said Student Borrow Protection Policy Director Persis Yu.

Yu called the acknowledgment step one.

The Department Of Education said it will review payment timelines and history for borrowers enrolled in public service loan forgiveness plans and income-driven repayment plans.

The changes are expected to give 40,000 borrowers immediate forgiveness, at least 3.6 million borrowers will receive three years of additional credit for income-driven repayment forgiveness.

"Unfortunately, the department has not given a timeline on when borrowers will find out what happens. For right now, the answer is to be patient and wait," said Yu.

Justine Hope Blau still feels misled by her servicers, who she said never told her about income-driven repayment plans.

"Don't leave us behind. We shouldn't be saddled with huge debt for the rest of our lives," Blau said.

She now urges caution to anyone thinking about taking a student loan.

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