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Get Out of Student Loan Debt Without Paying Another Dime


Loan Forgiveness is Real and You May Qualify

Students in Maine have the 7th highest student loan debt in the nation. That’s according to the latest research from the Project on Student Debt which also shows, on average, students graduating in 2012, from both 4-year public and private institutions walk away owing almost $29,500. The figures are perhaps more daunting when you consider that 67% of those same students carry student loan debt, whether they’ve graduated or not.

Those figures do not include those already working who will carry that student loan debt well into their careers. Nationally, Americans owe $1.2 trillion in student loans; figures for Maine are not tracked. The news seems depressing—but there is now a way for public sector employees, like educators, to walk away from student loan debt without making another payment through a federal loan forgiveness program. Here’s what you need to know:

What is Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF)?
The purpose of this federal program is to support people in public service jobs, like teaching. Under this program, qualified employees with student loan debt may be eligible for loan forgiveness on the remaining balance of their Direct Loans after making 120 on-time, full, scheduled monthly payments.

What are on-time, full scheduled monthly payments?
On-time payments are received no later than 15 days after the scheduled payment due date. Full payments meet or exceed the amount you’re required to pay each month under your agreed upon repayment schedule. Scheduled payments are those made under a qualifying repayment plan after the servicer of your federal loan has billed you for the month’s payment. They do not include payments made while your loans are in deferment or forbearance.

What loans are eligible for forgiveness?
Only loans received under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program are eligible for PSLF. Loans received under the Federal Perkins Loan Program and the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) do not qualify. If you have a Perkins Loan or a loan under FFEL you may consolidate them into a Direct Consolidation Loan to take advantage of the forgiveness. However, only payments made on the new consolidated loan will count toward the required 120 qualified payments.

What kinds employment qualify and how is full-time defined?
Anyone who is employed with a federal, state, or local government agency, entity, or organization or a tax exempt not-for-profit organization qualifies. Educators fall into this category and do qualify. You must, however, be a full-time employee which for the purposes of the program is defined as working at least an annual average of 30 hours per week. If you are an educator under contract for at least 8 out of 12 months you meet the full time standard if you work an average of at least 30 hours per week during the contractual period.

I think I qualify. How can I sign up?
Sign up at the Federal Student Aid website.

What can I do to help?
Sign the NEA Degrees Not Debt Pledge at nea.org/degreesnotdebt and add your voice for more college affordability.

I think I qualify. How can I sign up?


Sign up at the Federal Student Aid website.

What can I do to help?


Sign the NEA Degrees Not Debt Pledge at nea.org/degreesnotdebt and add your voice for more college affordability.

Want your voice heard?

Contact your legislators and let them know your thoughts at MEA's Legislative Action Center.


MEA Benefits Trust

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