You have a brief window to get in on this student loan forgiveness deal

Personal Finance

If you thought or were told you didn’t qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program because you were not enrolled in a qualifying repayment plan — typically an income-driven plan — the Department of Education might still let you off the hook.

Congress has allocated $350 million to offer forgiveness to student loan borrowers who meet all requirements for the program except that they were enrolled in graduated or extended repayment plans, which are ineligible for relief.

To qualify, you’ll still need to have a loan from the Direct program, have made all of your payments in full and on time, and have worked 10 years in a public service job with a qualifying employer.

The forgiveness plan will be given out on a “first-come, first-served” basis, until the money runs out.

The Department said it would establish the procedures within 60 days of its announcement, which would mean you could apply starting May 22, “though it is not uncommon for the administration to miss such deadlines,” said Mark Kantrowitz, a student loan expert.

Still, borrowers should check in with the department. Considering that there are potentially many newly eligible debtors, the money may not last long at all and you’ll want to be one of the first applicants the Department reviews, said Kantrowitz.

“You don’t want to be playing a game of musical chairs and be the one left out,” he said.

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