• about me
  • also me
  • email me: dicta (dot) chick (at) gmail (dot) com
  • Wednesday, September 12, 2007

    Good news for underpaid "public" servants?

    According to this article, Congress Passes Student Loan Forgiveness For Federal Employees, ten years in continuous service gets you "student loan forgiveness ".

    Wow. That's potentially a lotta forgiveness.

    The article says:
    To encourage and reward public service, "The College Cost Reduction and Access Act", (HR 2669) provides loan forgiveness for college graduates who go into public service professions, including law enforcement officers, first responders, firefighters, nurses, prosecutors, public defenders, and others.
    Federal direct loans eligible for forgiveness are: (1) a Federal Direct Stafford Loan; (2) Federal Direct PLUS Loan; (3) Federal Direct Unsubsidized Stafford Loan; and (4) a Federal Direct Consolidation Loan.
    I'll have to check the bill itself to see if my job qualifies or if there is a cap on salary. (Answer: not sure, and doesn't seem to be.) Also, I wonder if the forgiveness rains down all at once, after the ten years or how that's done? And is debt forgiveness taxable in this situation? It may be, but I'd rather pay tax on the forgiven debt than pay the debt itself.

    And then there's that bit about 10 years of service after October 1, 2007...

    First, serving those ten. That's hard time. But if you're inclined towards public service (which I am -- already have 15 years combined in teaching, non-profit work and da' guv), then okay. I wonder if you can combine various sectors of public service jobs (i.e., switch jobs but remain working in the "public interest") and still qualify?

    Second -- and this is a crucial point -- how much is realistically going to be left to be forgiven when the service period has been served (especially since eligibility hinges on remaining current on student loan payments)? Most of my loans are on a ten-year repayment plan (as is likely the case for many borrowers), so, um, nothing? Hmmm...

    Anyway, I don't know realistically how much impact this will have on many debtor's debts, but that doesn't mean it's not a step in the right direction, especially since the bill raised student loan amount caps (finally!). If you're interested in slogging through the conference report on the bill, go here for the full text.

    (BTW, I quickly read one section of the report, and "public servant" includes folks who work in the above-listed service professions, teachers in underserved areas, non-profit employees and others. I couldn't find any specifics on what government jobs are included, but considering I make LESS than a great many teachers [yes, it's true, I'm embarrassed to say] -- let alone private sector lawyers -- I would hope the definition is broad.)

    Labels: , ,

    eXTReMe Tracker