NerdWallet: How this high-school teacher got her student loans forgiven after paying for decades

by | Jul 25, 2022 | Stock Market

This article is reprinted by permission from NerdWallet.  After 28 years of payments, high school history teacher Dawn Snowden-Frost had a bleak outlook on her student loan debt, which had ballooned over the decades into six figures. “I always thought, ‘I’m going to die with these loans’,” says Snowden-Frost, who teaches at Burbank Unified School District in Burbank, California. “I’ll have student loans until I die and I’ll die in my classroom because I’ll never retire.”

But Snowden-Frost’s prediction was wrong. The remainder of her six-figure loan debt was discharged this year through Public Service Loan Forgiveness — specifically through the PSLF waiver that’s currently in effect and counts particular types of past payments that normally aren’t counted. “It was always there, that big chunk of money that I have to keep paying and it’s never going to get paid off,” says Snowden-Frost. “Without [PSLF], I never would have paid it off; there’s no way to get out from underneath that debt.” This new feeling? “It’s freedom,” she says.A fraught program gets temporary improvements Snowden-Frost is one of the lucky ones: Most who apply for the notoriously difficult-to-get Public Service Loan Forgiveness program are rejected. Getting full debt discharge requires 120 qualifying payments made while working full time for an eligible employer, such as a public school, public hospital, eligible nonprofit or the government. Borrowers have been left to their own devices to fight, sometimes for years, for payments to count toward the 120 total needed for forgiveness of their remaining debt. PSLF has been in place since 2007, but it has failed to deliver: From Nov. 9, 2020, to October 2021, when the waiver was put in place, only 2. …

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