The public service loan forgiveness, which saw some major changes announced by the federal government last month, has been awarded to 30,000 borrowers. One of them, Katherine Rickfelder- a public school teacher in Florida, saw her balance of student debt reduced to zero as a result of it.
Under the old rules of the program, Rickfelder would have to keep paying for the next five years to finally see off her debt- but now, she could finally feel free from the shackles. It is important to note that she had been paying off her student debt for the last 16 years.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness- How Does It Work?
The letter from the US Department of Education- one that she received in October, mentioned that she would be getting credit for close to 91 additional monthly payments that she had already made on her student loans. This implies that she had already put in more than the 120 payments that were required for the public service loan forgiveness to start operation- which has been aimed at professionals working in nonprofit sectors as well as the government.
The single mom further stated that while she did love teaching, it was always quite a financial struggle. But with the public service loan forgiveness in place, she wouldn’t have to look at finding a workaround for the debt. Over the last few years, the money that she had borrowed for her undergraduate and master’s degree increased simply because her payments weren’t covering the entirety of the interest that had been accrued on her student loans. This led to her debt growing over $189,000.
The public service loan forgiveness program was pushed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007- which provided workers with an incentive to remain in public service jobs- despite them being low-paying.