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Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness Plan Not Living Up To Its Promises, Critics Say

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- When Congress passed a law in 2007 on student loan forgiveness, it sounded almost too good to be true.

Twelve years later, some 80,000 professionals have been denied the promised relief, about a 99 percent rejection rate.

"Someone who works in public service which can include anything in the government," says Ben Miller of the Center for American Progress, "or at most types of non-profits can get their loans forgiven after ten years of qualified payments. So the idea is, you pay for ten years, whatever is left, the government forgives."

Not a bad deal: encouraging graduates into those careers like public school teaching.

So now after ten years, is it working?

"No," says Miller. "The problem is that it's not as straightforward as it sounds. So a lot of people heard, 'Okay, work ten years, say, as a teacher and you're good.' Congress didn't write it that way."

Miller says now that former students are trying to cash in on their ten years of service, they're discovering some fine print.

"You have to have certain loans that qualify and you have to be making certain payments that qualify on certain payment plans that qualify," Miller added.

While Congress sorts this out, says Miller, "Unfortunately, we've made these things so complicated that you kind of almost need a certificate or degree in student loans in order to sort through all these programs."

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