Will 2015 be a Banner Year for Obama's Plans To Forgive Student Loan Debt?
President Obama has shown continued interest in student debt relief throughout his term in office. The landscape of student loan repayment is changing as we speak. So there's hope - if you are having trouble paying your bills each month, you may be eligible for reduction, or even forgiveness, of your student loan debt.
“Let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years – and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college.” – President Barack Obama, January 27, 2010
Executive orders and budget proposals suggest that the president's debt reduction and forgiveness efforts will continue into 2015. If you're a hardworking American, there may be help for you that you never even knew was available. And, if you've chosen a career of service to your community or your country, and you have a history of paying your bills on time, you have a good chance of eligibility for debt forgiveness.
"Within 1 year after the date of this memorandum, the Secretary of Education shall propose regulations that will allow additional students who borrowed Federal Direct Loans to cap their Federal student loan payments at 10 percent of their income." - President Barack Obama, memorandum, June 9, 2014
President Obama's 2015 budget changes the landscape of student loan repayment and forgiveness. Much new information is expected before the December 2015 implementation date. But what do we know so far?
- As of Obama's June 9, 2014 executive order, all current borrowers with Federal student loan debt may opt-in to PAYE, the Pay As You Earn program.
- This does not apply to private loans. Depending on your circumstances, you may have until December, 2015 to apply.
- If you have taken your loan out before October 1st, 2007, you may not be eligible for PAYE. You will also have to meet certain conditions regarding your income and your debt amount.
- More details are available at forgetstudentloandebt.com.
Certain factors may affect your eligibility for debt relief, and the amount that may be forgiven:
- You may be eligible for Income-Based Repayment (IBR). IBR may help reduce your debt or monthly payments, depending on your income, debt, and family size.
- The Income-Based (IBR)/Pay As You Earn/Income-Contingent (ICR) Repayment Plan Request is a good place to start, if you think you may qualify for student debt reduction or forgiveness.
- Also, for some borrowers, student loan forgiveness amounts will not be taxed as income, according to this White House press release.
Also, major changes are proposed to PAYE for those in the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF):
- Some uncertainty regarding these proposed changes are discussed, in detail, at educatedrisk.org.
- The PSLF repayment period will be extended from 20 to 25 years, for those whose debt exceeds the $57,500 limit.
- Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) will be capped at $57,500, the undergraduate borrowing limit.
But does this apply to me? Can I get student loan forgiveness?
There are many types of student loans, and many reasons for debt relief. Loans can be cancelled, discharged, or forgiven for a variety of reasons. If your school closes, you suffer disability or death, or even bankruptcy (under certain conditions), you may be excused from loan repayment. If you withdrew from school, and your institution didn't pay the required refund to the U.S. Department of Education, you may also be eligible for a partial reduction of your debt.
Other types of loan forgiveness depend on your occupation and the type of loan. For example, teachers with a Direct Loan or a Federal Family Education Loan may be able to reduce their debt by as much as $17,500, if they meet certain conditions. Other public servants, who have made at least 120 payments on Direct Loans or FFEL's, may also qualify for loan forgiveness.
Remember, people in the following public-service careers may qualify for student loan forgiveness:
- Some members of the Armed Forces, especially those who have served in Combat Zones
- Nurses and Medical Technicians
- Police and Corrections Officers
- Head Start Workers
- Child or Family Service Workers
- Early Intervention Service Workers
If you have a Direct, FFEL, or Perkins loan, you may qualify for student loan reduction or forgiveness. Please, contact the United States Department of Education for specific information about loan forgiveness. It could change your life!
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2010). Remarks by the President in State of the Union Address [Press Release]. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/remarks-president-state-union-address
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2014). Opportunity For All: Middle Class Tax Cuts In The President’s FY 2015 Budget [Press release]. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/administration-officials-continue-travel-across-country-holding-recovery-summer-eve
The White House, Office of the Press Secretary. (2014). Presidential Memorandum -- Federal Student Loan Repayments. Retrieved from http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/09/presidential-memorandum-federal-student-loan-repayments
Obama's 2015 Budget Proposals for Student Loans (PAYE, PSLF, IBR). Retrieved from http://educatedrisk.org/analysis/obamas-2015-budget-proposals-student-loans-paye-pslf-ibr
Obama’s Student Loan Forgiveness Program. (2014, June 10). Retrieved from http://www.forgetstudentloandebt.com/student-loan-relief-programs/federal-student-loan-relief/federal-forgiveness-programs/president-obamas-student-loan-forgiveness-program/
Income-Based (IBR)/Pay As You Earn / Income-Contingent (ICR) Repayment Plan Request. Retrieved from http://www.ifap.ed.gov/dpcletters/attachments/GEN1222AttachFINAL1845dash0102Expires20151131.pdf
In certain situations, you can have your federal student loan forgiven, canceled, or discharged. Retrieved from https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation#when-can-my-federal