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Biden Administration Expands Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program To Aid More Borrowers

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Some important changes in the federal student loan forgiveness program could benefit tens of thousands of people.

As money editor Jon Delano reports, the Biden administration is trying to help students out while awaiting authority to fulfill a campaign promise.

President Joe Biden campaigned to cancel the first $10,000 of every student college loan. But so far, Congress has not gone along.

So, the president has used existing authority to cancel about $15 billion worth of debt, and now he's trying to cancel another $6.2 billion in student loans.

"I had my student loans in graduate school and some parent loans forgiven at about $102,000 in total loan forgiveness due to my having worked in a public service for 10 years or more," says Daniel Barkowitz.

Barkowitz, an Orlando resident who has family in Pittsburgh, wiped out a lot of debt under the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which Biden is making easier to access.

To qualify, you have to have made 120 months or ten years' worth of payments while working in a public service job or for a non-profit organization.

"It's a program that will allow more students to qualify who hadn't qualified before," says Alyssa Dobson, the financial aid director at Slippery Rock University. "They're fixing the issue of bad student loan servicing, either advice or processes, allowing payments that maybe didn't count before to count now in the new more lenient program."

Dobson, who is the past president of the Pennsylvania Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators, said the changes will expand the PSLF program to another 100,000 borrowers.

"It's great news for students in Pennsylvania, even for folks my age, my colleagues, that are now getting their student loans forgiven based on the new program, says Dobson.

Meagan Landress, who advises individuals on student loan forgiveness through Student Loan Planner, said the changes will help.

"That's a big deal because a lot of people are getting a lot closer to loan forgiveness or getting immediate loan forgiveness that never expected it. So, it's a really great opportunity," says Landress.

It really is for some, but millions are still waiting on Congress to cancel the first $10,000 of debt, as the president wants.

In the meantime, the pandemic-related moratorium on everyone repaying student loans is still in effect until May 1. Many expect President Biden to extend that moratorium again, with some saying he should keep postponing payments indefinitely or until Congress acts.

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