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Total student debt cancellation possible for nonprofit workers

Piggy bank with a graduation mortar board cap concept for the cost of a college education
Brian Jackson -
Piggy bank with a graduation mortar board cap concept for the cost of a college education

The Biden administration made a big announcement canceling student debt last week, but another program could be just as impactful for workers at nonprofit employers. The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program erases debt for public service employees and folks working at 501(c)3 nonprofits after they've made at least ten years of payments. Tylyn Newcomb is with the Montana Nonprofit Association.

"For anyone working in public service, this program goes above and beyond the recently announced $10,000 or $20,000 loan forgiveness. This has the potential to forgive all of your student loans, if you've been able to make 120 payments under the program," said Newcomb.

A waiver put in place last year makes it easier to qualify for the program. Historically, it's been hard to meet the program's requirements. Between 2007 and 2019, only one-percent of people who applied qualified. The deadline to apply under the simplified waiver process is October 31st.

Newcomb says the program was set up with the acknowledgment that people in the public and nonprofit sector tend to make less money than folks in the private sector. She says the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program is a way of showing appreciation for these workers.

"This has the opportunity to really lighten the burden of a lot of public service workers through loan forgiveness, and allow them to continue their employment in the public service sector," said Newcomb.

Newcomb says there have been cases of people who made more than 120 qualified payments receiving refunds. The U-S Department of Education says it's approved more than 10-billion dollars in debt relief for more than 175-thousand Americans since the streamlined waiver was put in place ten months ago. People can check their eligibility for the program at ''