Last week, the Biden administration announced that it was canceling up to $20,000 in student loan debts for tens of millions of people. This is an important first step toward our union’s goal: cancellation of all federal student loan debt.
Many of you will benefit directly from this decision, but we want to make sure you take advantage of a further opportunity for student loan forgiveness available to educators at a public university. Last year, the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) settled a lawsuit with the U.S. Department of Education over the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program. Members of our unit have had tens of thousands of dollars in student loan debt forgiven as a result of the improvements in the PSLF program won by our national union.
But time is running out to take advantage of one of those improvements: a limited waiver that allows all payments to count toward PSLF, regardless of loan program or payment plan. The waiver will expire on October 31, 2022, so you need to take action by then.
The AFT recommends the following to be sure you access all available means of debt relief:
- Make sure all your information is up-to-date on the federal student loan website and with your loan servicers, because some loan forgiveness will be automatic.
- Sign up for Summer, an online student loan management platform, as soon as possible. This AFT member benefit will provide individual support to help you untangle all the loan repayment plans and rules and get on a path to loan forgiveness. Note: Summer is only available to union members; if you are not a union member, take a minute to join your union now so you can use this important resource.
- Attend one of the AFT’s weekly student debt webinars. They are held every Thursday at 7 p.m. and cover the latest student debt information in detail. Click here to register.
We still need to fight for proper, sustainable funding for public higher education, but canceling student debt is an important step. Our members have already had significant debts forgiven, and we want to ensure that all of you understand how to navigate the process. Remember, the Biden administration’s debt cancellation announcement did not change the deadline to apply for PSLF under the limited waiver; if you haven’t already, you must apply by October 31. Everyone working at Rutgers or anywhere in public service who has federal student debt can and should apply for PSLF immediately. To learn more, sign up for Summer as a member of the AFT and attend one of the AFT’s weekly student debt webinars.
Becky and Todd
Rebecca Givan, President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
Todd Wolfson, General Vice President, Rutgers AAUP-AFT
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