Nina Pomponio is one of the first people to have her student debt canceled thanks to the public service loan forgiveness program — and she has advice for other borrowers.
Recent Education Department data showed that less than 1 percent of people who applied to have their student debt canceled under the program, which allows certain not-for-profit and government employees to have their federal student loans erased after 10 years of on-time payments, were approved.
One of those lucky people is Pomponio, a lawyer at the Massachusetts Probation Service. In June of this year, she received the notice from FedLoan, the servicer for public service loan forgiveness, that her remaining debt of around $50,000 would be scrubbed and that her new balance was $0.
These are the public service loan forgiveness requirements. Often, if you don't meet one of them, you can make changes so that you do.
- Your loans must be federal direct loans.
- 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.
- By the end, you need to have made 120 qualifying, on-time payments in an income-driven repayment plan or the standard repayment plan.
Pomponio realized just how few people had also crossed the finish line during a recent phone conversation with a representative at FedLoan.
"The guy was so excited," she said. "He was like, 'Oh, my god. You're the first one we've seen.' I was like, 'Just me?'"