Dallas County is joining the effort to publicize a program that can help public employees pay off student loan debt more easily.
The county hosted a webinar Monday morning in conjunction with the US Department of Education which provided assistance with a limited waiver.
The deadline to apply is October 31, which is why there has been a recent push to spread the word.
"We've got so many people in the public sector and in our charities who work so hard for you and me, and it's great to see there's an opportunity for them to get that loan wiped our or drastically reduced," said Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
The Civil Service Loan Cancellation Program has been in existence since 2007 and is designed to cancel the remaining balance of a loan once there have been 120 eligible monthly payments, which equates to approximately 10 years of payments.
People who work in the public sector, i.e. teachers, all levels of government employees, first responders, non-profit organizations and those in the non-profit hospital sector, are eligible .
But it is well known that it can be difficult to get into this program.
“This program has almost always turned people down until now. Now they’ve made it much easier to qualify so anyone who’s made about 120 payments or had time off that counts towards those can get a substantial debt reduction,” Jenkins explained.
The limited waiver stems from several changes during COVID-19 to help people who were unemployed or unable to work during the pandemic.
The limited waiver relaxes some of the requirements.
For example, during the normal PSLF, only those with direct loans were eligible. During this limited waiver, Direct Loans, Federal Family Education Loans, or Perkins Loans are eligible for the program.
Prior to the waiver, 120 monthly payments had to be made under the standard plan or the income-based repayment plan. Now, until the end of October, previous payments under any plan count.
Those who have been denied in the past are encouraged to reapply.
“One of our employees already got $65,000 off her loans,” Jenkins said.
Everyone’s situation is different, so it’s essential to read all the details.
Click here to see if you qualify.
Jenkins says they plan to have more resources available.
On November 1, normal requirements will return.