The Massachusetts senator's alarm-sounding on consumer debt neglects to measure it against the growth in the economy and the ability to pay.Economyread more
Equifax will give consumers a range of options for monitoring their credit or making claims of fraud or data misuse, part of a $425 million restitution fund.Technologyread more
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her family have seen their investments skyrocket since President Donald Trump started enacting pro-business policies. Meanwhile, DeVos...Politicsread more
The deal between the White House and Democrats was earlier expected to raise the debt ceiling for two years and permanently end the sequester.Politicsread more
See which stocks are posting big moves after the bell on July 22.Market Insiderread more
The construction industry is heavily dependent on Hispanic and Latino workers, a workforce that diminished during the last housing crisis and has not come close to full...Real Estateread more
The deal could be announced as soon as next week, according to the report.Technologyread more
Former NFL offensive lineman Jeff Hatch, who had previously been candid about his own struggles with opioid addiction and substance abuse, pleaded guilty Friday to a drug...Politicsread more
A group of gold miners stocks, "BAANG," are better plays than mega-cap FAANG names, according to John Roque, technical analyst at Wolfe Research.Marketsread more
T-Mobile is choosing to move ahead with a merger with Sprint even though it will prop up Dish Network as a new, possibly disruptive fourth U.S. wireless competitor.Technologyread more
Danger is lurking in the stock market: An abrupt sell-off could be around the corner if the Federal Reserve doesn't deliver the rate cut the market expects next week, the firm...Marketsread more
In a recent CNBC story about one of the first people to qualify for public service loan forgiveness, we asked readers who also had made it to the end of the journey to write in.
We received just one success story. The rest of the comments and questions from borrowers made it clear there's a lot of misinformation about how the government program works.
One person's servicer said their loan forgiveness would be taxed (that's not true). Another wanted to know if their job counted as public service (It's complicated).
With the help of student loan expert Mark Kantrowitz, we've addressed some of the most common misunderstandings.
"Most myths start off rooted in truth, but twisted," Kantrowitz said.
In case you've never heard of public service loan forgiveness, the program was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2007, and allows certain not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans canceled after 10 years of on-time payments.
There are three basic requirements:
1) Your loans must be federal direct loans.
2) Your employer must be a government organization at any level, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization or some other type of not-for-profit organization that provides public service.
3) By the end, you need to have made 120 qualifying, on-time payments in an income-driven repayment plan or the standard repayment plan.
Believe it or not, that's just the basics.
Among the other points you should know: under public service loan forgiveness, your debt is forgiven tax-free.
Your private loans can't be forgiven; only federal loans qualify for public service loan forgiveness.
Kantrowitz said some people assume they'll qualify for forgiveness after 10 years of payments. However, it's not about how long you've been paying but how many payments you've made. Maybe you took a leave from public service work, for example, stopping the clock on your payments for a few months or years. It's after 120 qualifying payments that your loans will be eligible for forgiveness.
On that note, if you miss a payment, or if you switch jobs, your clock is not reset to zero. Your qualifying payments don't need to be consecutive.
Others asked if their employer counts if it's a contractor for the government. Not always, Kantrowitz said. "Government contractors must themselves be qualifying organizations for their employees to qualify for public service loan forgiveness," he said.
The best way to find out if your job qualifies as public service is to fill out the so-called employer certification form.
Many people think they need to fill out this form; in reality, it's optional. In theory, you could wait until you've made the 120 payments, then apply, Kantrowitz said. "But, it may be easier if you've been filing the employer certification forms all along, especially if one of your previous employers no longer exists," he said.
More from Personal Finance:
Here's what you need to qualify for public service loan forgivenessThe government may forgive your student loans if you meet these demands
Education Department is failing to provide public service loan forgiveness, senators allege
There's some 14 ways to repay your student loans, but to qualify for public service loan forgiveness you need to be enrolled in one of these four income-based repayment plans: Income-contingent repayment, income-based repayment, pay-as-you-earn repayment and revised pay-as-you-earn repayment.
The standard repayment plan also qualifies, but under it you'd have paid off your loans in 10 years anyway.
Others believe that consolidating their loans will not affect forgiveness. This is wrong, Kantrowitz said.
"Consolidating loans resets the clock on public service loan forgiveness," he said.
More and more companies are charging people to apply for loan forgiveness. You should not pay for this service, Kantrowitz said. "If you have to pay money to get money, it's probably a scam," he said. "You can go to StudentLoans.gov to switch repayment plans and do the work yourself for free. It should take less than half an hour."
He went on, "Take everything the lender says with a grain of salt." Seek confirmation with the Education Department, school counselors, a college financial aid administrator and on reputable web sites, he said.