Earlier this year, CNBC tracked down one of the first people to qualify for public service loan forgiveness.
"I feel pretty lucky," Kevin Maier, a tenured professor at the University of Alaska Southeast, had said.
He really should.
The Education Department just released data on how many borrowers' loans it has forgiven under the program — just 206. More than 40,000 borrowers have applied for the forgiveness.
That means just 0.85 percent of applications were approved.
The public service loan forgiveness 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 erased after 10 years of on-time payments.
About 25 percent of American workers are in public service and could, in theory, be eligible. However, student loan servicers are delaying and denying borrowers access to the forgiveness program, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Some 32,000 borrowers were denied because they didn't meet the program requirements and another nearly 12,000 applications were turned down for missing information.
With the help of student loan expert Mark Kantrowitz, we've addressed some of the most common misunderstandings about the program that trip people up.
These are the program's three basic requirements:
- 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.
Believe it or not, that's just the basics.