The cancellations for those people are expected to total about $6.2 billion in federal student debt relief. Not all of the eligible borrowers have been notified of their debt relief yet. They are being notified on a rolling basis, and the Department of Education could not provide a date when all of them will have been contacted.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program promises to wipe away remaining federal student loan debt after an eligible public service worker makes 10 years of monthly payments. It was created about 15 years ago, but a very small percentage of people who applied had received forgiveness before 2021.
“The PSLF announcement made today means more of our dedicated teachers, nurses, first responders, service members, and many other public service workers will get meaningful relief,” Education Secretary Miguel Cardona said then in a statement.
Here’s who gained eligibility
Due to the temporary waiver, it no longer matters what kind of federal student loan a borrower has or what repayment plan he or she is enrolled in. All payments will be eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program if the borrower was working full time for a qualifying employer.
Previously, eligibility also hinged on having a Direct Loan and being enrolled in an income-driven repayment plan, which sets payments based on income and family size. Those with Federal Family Education Loans, which were made by private lenders but backed by the government, did not qualify.
What borrowers can do now
Many borrowers don’t have to take any action in order to have the Department of Education review and update the number of their qualifying payments.
But those with older Federal Family Education Loans will have to consolidate them into Direct Loans if they have not already done so. Payments made before consolidation will now count toward receiving relief.
Those who already have Direct Loans but have not submitted employment certification forms for past periods of repayment must also do that now.
Borrowers have until October 31, 2022, to make those changes to qualify for forgiveness under the temporary waiver.
Student loan payments set to restart in May
White House chief of staff Ron Klain said last week that the Biden administration is considering another extension of the pause.
Asked about Klain’s comments during Friday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “That is obviously something we will continue to assess and review as we get closer to May.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
CNN’s Sam Fossum contributed to this report.