Federal student loan forgiveness program expands for public-sector workers

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HARLINGEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The U.S. Department of Education announced changes that could ease the student debt for public service workers. This move comes after the Biden administration received backlash over its complexity.

“The details were confusing, it sounded like they were going to qualify and then when it got to the details of the criteria they were disappointed and that’s where the confusion and that’s where the frustration was for students,” said Elias Ozuna, Director for Financial Aid at UTRGV.

In order to qualify, public sector workers must have worked 10 years in a qualifying job and made monthly payments toward their student loans no matter what loan type or repayment plan they have. 

“The idea of this type of program instead of saying ‘it’s all free or we’re never going to help you out’, is if you work for 10 years in the public sector we want you to do that we’re going to forgive whatever amount is remaining because we want to incentivize people going into the public sector,” said Teo Sepulveda, Economist at South Texas College.

Some financial experts said the changes that are being made might entice more students to go into the public sector and not be overwhelmed by the loans they take out.

“What the Department of Education if hoping with these rule changes is that that number will severely be boosted and many more borrowers that apply for PSLF will be approved,” said Andrew Pentis, Education Finance Expert for Student Loan Hero.

Pentis explained that in the Rio Grande Valley the average student loan debt ranges from $23,000-$25,000. UTRGV is one of the schools they say offer counseling sessions for students to find the right forgiveness program. 

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