Kevin Maier should not be unusual. Yet he is.
In the spring, he was notified by the Department of Education that he had made all 120 qualifying payments required to be eligible for public service loan forgiveness.
That program, signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, allows certain not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments. In 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau estimated that one-quarter of American workers could be eligible.
However, the program has been plagued by problems, making people like Maier, 43, a rarity. Last year, the bureau reported that student loan servicers are delaying or denying borrowers access to the program. Plenty of people in public service jobs believe that they're paying their way to loan forgiveness only to discover at some point in the process that they don't qualify for one technical reason or another.
Between October 2017, when the Department of Education first began accepting applications for public service loan forgiveness, and the end of March 2018, some 16,000 people applied, an Education Department spokesman told CNBC. Fewer than 1,000 of those people are expected to be eligible.
That ratio is likely even more lopsided, said student loan expert Mark Kantrowitz. He estimates that fewer than 115 people were eligible in the first year. The Education Department spokesman said figures on approvals and denials remain unavailable at this time.
Below is the confirmation Maier received that he had zero payments left to qualify for public service loan forgiveness.