If you work in public service, one day your massive student loans could go away.
It’s part of a loan forgiveness program for people like teachers and firefighters.
After a report uncovered that program didn’t deliver, Congress took action.
The public service loan forgiveness program, which started in 2007, said after 10 years of payments and other qualifications, certain people could get their debts wiped clean.
Those 10 years came and went and few loans were actually forgiven, according to the Government Watchdog Report.
Last year, Congress tried to fix it by expanding who would qualify.
“Overall, Congress was working very hard and made some very good-faith efforts to try and help students,” said Pam Seay, a lawyer who teaches at Florida Gulf Coast University.
She says while it was a good thought, it didn’t go unpunished.
“Unfortunately, the good intentions of Congress were ruined through the application of a bureaucratic nightmare,” said Seay.
Almost three-quarters of the new requests were denied for what seemed like a technicality: The person didn’t apply to the previous 2007 program before they applied to the expanded one.
“To know you have to submit forms you are not qualified for at all in order to qualify for a program you might qualify for doesn’t make good, common sense,” she said.
The Government Accountability Office recommends that the Department of Education combine the application steps and make more information available to students.
If you’ve applied for this program and were denied, we want to hear from you! Send an email to email@example.com. We will be following up to see how this new program is, or isn’t, working.