Thousands of Illinois public service workers may qualify for education loan forgiveness – Do you?
July 1, 2022, was Illinois’s first day of the new fiscal year. This means that the new State budget went into effect. Some of the most talked about budget items include property tax rebates, grocery sales tax suspension, a delay on gas tax increases and stimulus checks for families. You might have missed the part about student loan forgiveness.
Senate and House included significant legislation focused on schools, from suicide awareness and prevention to an updated policy on school absenteeism and truancy. Buried in all the headlines and noise that came with the new budget is the SB 0662: Higher Education Student Assistance Act.
Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program (PSLF)
Created in 2007, the goal of PSLF was to help employees of government agencies and non-profits by forgiving the remainder of an individual’s student loans after 120 payments. It’s estimated that only about 15% of eligible public service workers have filed the paperwork needed to track their progress toward student loan forgiveness. To be eligible, you must:
- Be employed by a non-profit organization or government agency, including
- Tribal government
- Hold a full-time position within the organization
- Have Direct Loans (including other federal loans that were consolidated into a Direct Loan)
- Make 120 qualified payments
So far, overall applicant approval has been low, approximately 1 in 5. However, the Illinois program intends to change that.
Illinois School Social Work Shortage Loan Repayment Program
The legislation that creates this program states that the Illinois Student Assistance Commission will consider grant applications from eligible social workers. Grant recipients can use the grant money to repay student loans. Qualified applicants include social workers employed by public elementary and secondary schools. Provisions for the act include applicant priority and steps to take if the amount allocated to the program falls short of what’s needed.
Not all teachers qualify for the Teacher Loan Forgiveness program, but many do. Have you taught full-time for five complete and consecutive years? If you didn’t complete five years but meet FMLA or other requirements, you might still be eligible for some forgiveness. You may qualify for student loan forgiveness if you:
- Teach in a low-income school district
- Are a special education teacher
- Work where there’s a teacher shortage
- Work in an underemployed area
The amount forgiven depends on the type and outstanding portion of the loan. The Teacher Forgiveness program has significant guidelines and requirements. A Chicago Student Loan Lawyer can help determine if you qualify for forgiveness and provide guidance with the documentation.
Helping others and volunteering to make a difference can strain your wallet. Did you know that working with certain volunteer-based organizations could make you eligible for student loan forgiveness? AmeriCorp and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) are among the not-for-profit organizations that have repayment options or student loan awards that you may apply for after completing your term of service.
Get Student Loan Help in Chicago
In this blog, we’ve covered only one segment of careers with student loan forgiveness opportunities. Several jobs, such as automotive professionals, lawyers, pharmacists, veterinarians and many others, have student loan forgiveness programs. Each program has specific eligibility requirements. Regardless of the program, you will need certain information from the National Student Loan Data System.
Completing paperwork, meeting deadlines and finding the best forgiveness/repayment options can be time-consuming. Student loan debt is complex and can affect other parts of your life. Kevin Benjamin is an experienced debt relief attorney and has received training in student loan-specific law. Contact Kevin, your Chicago Student Loan Lawyer, at 312-853-3100 to learn more about how you can get a handle on your student loan debt.