UPDATE: JULY 5, 2023
In the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court decision to block the Biden administration's one-time student debt relief plan, we encourage NYSUT members to visit StudentAid.gov for answers to frequently asked questions.
Additionally, NYSUT offers free webinars, consultations and discounted access to a student loan solutions portal through our partnership with Cambridge Credit Counseling.
Please note that the Supreme Court decision does NOT impact debt relief initiated through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program.
This article was first posted November 2022.
If you’re confused about student loan forgiveness programs — or in a panic over the start-up of federal student loan payments — you’re not alone.
Recent court rulings could jeopardize the Biden administration’s efforts to expand student debt relief. Until resolved, these legal challenges are leaving millions of borrowers in financial limbo. To complicate matters further, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which some understood to be available only through October 31, is actually still available, albeit in a more limited fashion now that the waiver has expired.
All these developments have left many educators scratching their heads and checking their bank balances. To find out more about student debt relief, sign up for one of NYSUT’s free online student loan webinars offered to members in partnership with Cambridge Credit Counseling. With a live presentation and Q&A session, a Cambridge certified student loan counselor will walk you through the latest updates and help you get on track. Attendees will also receive free access to the Cambridge Student Loan portal, along with the opportunity to schedule one-on-one counseling sessions.
Thousands of NYSUT members have already taken advantage of this free union benefit. Through this program, counselors will help you better understand the various student loan repayment options, along with the latest twists and turns for Public Student Loan Forgiveness programs.
Student debt relief has always been a complex – and contentious – subject, with many contending that its complexity ends up exploiting borrowers. Unions have advocated tirelessly for simplification, reform and expansion of the loan forgiveness programs. Union leaders are committed to keeping members informed.
Here are some highlights on recent developments.
PSLF is still available for educators and other public service workers. This is the case even if you missed the Oct. 31 deadline to apply for the limited Public Service Loan Forgiveness waiver. Significant permanent improvements have been made to the program, so that more educators can receive the debt forgiveness they were promised. By the way, so far more than 236,000 educators and public service workers have received $14 billion in student loan forgiveness under the union-backed PSLF waiver.
Payments on federal student loans were set to resume on Jan. 1, but the Biden administration has extended the pause pending legal action. Student loan payments have been paused since March 2020, when the CARES Act was approved due to the pandemic. Union leaders are urging the administration to extend the freeze on payments to help borrowers who are still struggling under crushing debt.
A new federal loan forgiveness program, which was announced by President Biden last fall, has been halted by a number of pending court challenges. As of last week, the U.S. Department of Education stopped accepting applications for the new program, which would provide up to $20,000 in federal student debt relief to people earning less than $125,000. So far more than 26 million student-loan borrowers have already applied for the new debt relief, with about 16 million applications already approved, Biden officials said. While the court challenges could ultimately end up before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Education Department said it will hold onto borrowers’ information so it can quickly process the relief “once we prevail in court.”
As the legal appeals process proceeds, we will post updates on any new developments, including the resumption of the program.