Student Loan Debt Relief for New Yorkers

Thousands of New Yorkers have dedicated their careers to public service and serving their communities. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF) was set up to ensure that these nurses, service members, firefighters, and other public servants would eventually have their student loan debt forgiven. But for years, PSLF has failed to live up to this promise.

I urged the Biden Administration to fix the program, and they have taken steps to do what they can to finally get debt relief to thousands of public servants, including nearly 1,400 New York borrowers who will be immediately eligible to have their loans canceled.

Here is everything you need to know about the fixes being made to PSLF and how you could qualify to get your student loan debt forgiven.

— Senator Kirsten Gillibrand


 

Changes to PSLF

$8.3 billion of New Yorkers’ federal student loan debt is held by PSLF borrowers who have worked in public service and are waiting for debt forgiveness. These fixes to PSLF will help get relief to many of these borrowers.

Counting Prior Payments Toward PSLF

The Biden administration is offering a temporary waiver giving borrowers credit for prior payments they made on their student loans that would not otherwise count toward PSLF. Any prior payments made while working for a qualifying employer will count — regardless of loan type or repayment plan.

Some borrowers missed out on credit toward getting their loans forgiven because their payments were off by a penny or two or late by only a few days. The Biden administration will also count those payments toward PSLF.

Help Service Members Receive PSLF

The Biden administration will allow months that service members spent on active duty to count toward PSLF, even if the service member’s loans were on a deferment or forbearance rather than in active repayment.

Review Denied PSLF Applications

Far too many public servants had their application for loan forgiveness denied because of errors by loan servicers. The Biden administration will review all denied PSLF applications to find and correct these errors, and offer an appeal process for those who think they were wrongfully denied PSLF forgiveness.

Applying for PSLF

The Department of Education will be rolling out these crucial fixes over the next few months, and the temporary waiver will be available to borrowers through October 31, 2022.

Use the online PSLF Help Tool to:

  • Register for PSLF
  • Update your information
  • Certify your employment
  • Determine if you are eligible for PSLF

Get started at StudentAid.gov/PSLF.

How Congress Can Help

The Biden administration’s temporary fixes to PSLF are a good first step, but more needs to be done to fulfill the program’s promise to young people in New York and across the country.

The What You Can Do for Your Country Act – legislation that was endorsed by President Biden during the 2020 campaign – would greatly expand access to the program, ensuring that it is actually rewarding our public servants with the loan forgiveness that they have earned and deserve. It would:

  • Reduce confusion surrounding PSLF eligibility – and expand eligibility – by permanently allowing all types of federal loans and repayment plans to qualify.
  • Provide borrowers with a partial forgiveness benefit after five years of public service, instead of making PSLF borrowers wait a full 10 years to receive full forgiveness.
  • Ensure that the Department of Education provides public servants with clearer information and guidance on qualifying for PSLF.

More than 12,000 New Yorkers with student loan debt would have half their loans forgiven if we pass this bill, and tens of thousands more would come even closer to having their full debt forgiven.

Read Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s full report about how PSLF is shortchanging student loan borrowers and how the What You Can Do for Your Country Act will get relief to thousands of New York borrowers.