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Retaining Michigan Teachers Through Student Loan Forgiveness Program

August 31, 2022

LANSING – Capitalizing on the federal Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program is one way to retain Michigan educators, said State Superintendent Dr. Michael Rice.

Through October 31, 2022, the U.S. Department of Education is offering public servants working in government and staff in eligible non-profits a second chance to qualify for student loan forgiveness. This is a separate program than the broader Student Debt Relief Plan that President Joe Biden announced last week.

“With our present teacher shortage, our students and school communities need our teachers and value their service,” Dr. Rice said. “This opportunity for student loan forgiveness is an important way that Congress enacted years ago to show appreciation towards teachers and other public servants.”

In 2007, Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program to recruit and retain top talent in public service. If an individual works for government or a qualifying non-profit for 10 years and makes 120 student loan repayments on a federal Direct Loan in full and on time, the federal government will consider their loans “paid in full” and forgive the remaining balance.

Work for a qualifying employer. This includes working for:

  • Government including federal, state, local, or tribal government, or
  • Non-profit organization that provides a public service such as public education, early childhood education, library services, emergency management, military service, law enforcement, legal services, public service for individuals with disabilities and the elderly, or public health.

If a person’s annual income is below $125,000 (for individuals) or a family’s annual income is below $250,000 (for married couples or heads of households), he/she/they is/are eligible for up to $10,000 in debt forgiveness.

If a public servant received a Pell Grant in college and meets the income threshold, he or she will be eligible for up to $20,000 in debt forgiveness.  All public servants, including teachers, with student loans should check to see if they qualify for debt relief by clicking here – especially if they applied for PSLF before and didn’t qualify.

The Biden administration is offering a temporary waiver to allow previously ineligible borrowers a second chance at student debt relief through October 31, 2022. Borrowers can now get credit for past public service, payments on more federal loans, and payments made under different repayment plans.

Last week, President Biden announced the broader Student Debt Relief Plan to help working and middle-class federal student loan borrowers transition back to regular payment as pandemic-related support expires. This plan includes loan forgiveness of up to $20,000 and people must apply by December 31, 2023.

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