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Qualifications for benefiting from the program:• Student loan borrowers with careers in qualifying public service jobs.
• The borrowers must work full-time for a qualifying employer, such as a federal or local government agency, or an eligible non-profit organization.
• 120 (or about 10 years’ worth of) on-time and in full payments.
• Student borrowers must have taken out direct loans from the federal government. (Private loans and non-direct government loans don't qualify). That being said, borrowers may qualify if they consolidate their existing debt into direct loans.
• Borrowers must be enrolled in a qualifying repayment program. (Note: there are nine student loan repayment options, some of which qualify while others do not.)
According to the U.S. Department of Education, as of Feb. 28, slightly less than 13,000 unique applications had been received. Unfortunately, student loan borrowers are in the millions and many took out non-qualifying loans to pay for their studies. Tens of thousands of these borrowers are believed to have mistakenly enrolled in the wrong repayment program, which means they likely won’t qualify to benefit from the program. The budget deal we're referring to includes $350 million "to remain until expended" on a first-come, first-serve basis. This is in hopes to help student loan borrowers who discovered they are ineligible for debt forgiveness. USA Today also detailed that “The Department of Education must compare a borrower's most recent monthly repayment with the payment for the same month in the prior year. Those who were paying less than they would have in a qualified repayment program aren't eligible for loan forgiveness.” Additionally, “the compromise also earmarks $2.3 million for outreach efforts to borrowers who would have qualified for loan forgiveness but mistakenly chose or were misled into incorrect options.”