Over 9 million student-loan borrowers are eligible to get their debt wiped out — but fewer than 2% of them have actually gotten that relief, new report finds


On Thursday, the advocacy group Student Borrower Protection Center (SBPC) released an estimate on the number of borrowers eligible for relief through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program, which forgives student debt for public servants after ten years of qualifying payments.

In October, the department implemented a limited-time waiver through October 31, 2022, that would allow borrowers to count payments from any federal-loan programs or repayment plans toward loan forgiveness through PSLF, including programs and plans that were not previously eligible, with the intention it would bring 550,000 borrowers closer to relief.

But based on recent data from the Education Department, the SBPC found that while over 9 million public servants have student debt and are eligible for loan forgiveness, just 2% or 130,730 have actually seen relief since November 2020. That’s partly because, according to SBPC, fewer than 15% of the 9 million borrowers have filed paperwork to track their PSLF progress.

“The Biden Administration is delivering a debt free future for public service workers across the country, but we’ve only scratched the surface,” SBPC Executive Director Mike Pierce said in a statement. “Secretary Cardona needs to recognize that you can’t have too much of a good thingextend the waiver now and deliver debt relief for millions in the future.”

To ensure public servants, like teachers and nonprofit workers, are aware of the relief out there, the SBPC partnered with a coalition of labor unions representing over 7.5 million workers, including Teamsters and the American Federation of Teachers, to launch a campaign to drive PSLF enrollment.

“At AFT, we have worked tirelessly to deliver on the promise of PSLF debt cancellation, and we are ready to make these new resources available to our over 1.7 million members across the country,” American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten said in a statement. “The relief our members are feeling is palpable. This is not the time to cut corners in getting that relief to as many people as possible, which is why President Biden must extend the limited PSLF waiver and support us in helping our members access PSLF.”

The Education Department did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment regarding an extension of the PSLF waiver.

Leading up to Biden’s presidency, 98% of borrowers who applied for PSLF were being denied, which is why Biden promised on the campaign trail to reform the program. And while those reforms are underway, the president is also looking at broad loan forgiveness for every federal borrower an announcement that likely won’t be made until July or August.

Show some Love^^