Data Shows Few Individuals Qualifying For Student Loan Forgiveness Program

The Department of Education has rejected more than 99% of the applications filed by public servants seeking to have their student loans forgiven, although the number of individuals who have been approved under the program is increasing.

So far, 206 individuals have had their applications approved, as of Sept. 30, according to data published last week by the Education Department. That is out of 41,000 applications that have been filed. The last time the figures were released, only 96 out of 28,000 applications had been approved — which was as of June 30, 2018.

To qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, individuals need to jump through a lot of hoops. Individuals must have taken out Direct Loans, be in the right type of repayment plan and work for any level of government or a recognized charitable organization. Individuals must also have made 120 on-time monthly payments.

This data may just be the “tip of the iceberg,” said Seth Frotman, a former student loan ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, who left the agency earlier this year and has now started a consumer advocacy group, the Student Borrower Protection Center.

“Every piece of data we see demonstrates that the promises made to public servants throughout the country 10 years ago have been broken,” he said, according to a published report.

Navient, a student loan servicing company, has been accused in a lawsuit of steering individuals away from the proper repayment plans that would allow more individuals — teachers, in this case — from qualifying for the program.

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