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Big Sky Connection -- People with student debt received good news from the Biden administration last week. Another program, the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, also is giving relief to workers in nonprofit organizations. Comments from Tylyn (TY-lynn) Newcomb, membership manager, Montana Nonprofit Association.


Click on the image above for the audio.  Before a waiver closed its loopholes, only about 7,000 people qualified for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program started in 2007. (Brian Jackson/Adobe Stock)

Eric Tegethoff

August 31, 2022

The Biden administration made a big announcement canceling student debt last week, but another program could be just as impactful for workers at nonprofit employers in Montana and elsewhere.

The Public Student Loan Forgiveness program erases debt for public service employees and those working at 501(c) 3 nonprofits after they have made at least 10 years of payments.

Tylyn Newcomb, membership manager for the Montana Nonprofit Association, explained the importance of the plan.

"For anyone working in public service, this program goes above and beyond the recently announced $10,000 or $20,000 loan forgiveness," Newcomb emphasized. "This has the potential to forgive all of your student loans, if you've been able to make 120 payments under the program."

waiver put in place last year makes it easier to qualify for the program. Historically, it has been hard to meet the program's requirements. Between 2007 and 2019, only 1% of people who applied qualified. The deadline to apply under the simplified waiver process is Oct. 31.

Newcomb noted the program was set up with the acknowledgment people in the public and nonprofit sector tend to make less money than those in the private sector. She contended the Public Student Loan Forgiveness program is a way of showing appreciation for these workers.

"This has the opportunity to really lighten the burden of a lot of public service workers through loan forgiveness," Newcomb asserted. "And allow them to continue their employment in the public service sector."

Newcomb added there have been cases of people who made more than 120 qualified payments receiving refunds. The U.S. Department of Education said it has approved more than $10 billion dollars in debt relief for more than 175,000 Americans since the streamlined waiver was put in place 10 months ago.