Contrary to popular belief, student loan forgiveness is extremely rare. First, these loans are not discharged in bankruptcy, the conditions to do so are close to impossible.
Secondly, while the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program was started ten years ago, it was only this month that the first people on it became eligible to apply for forgiveness. And that is only to apply, there is no guarantee they will get have their loans forgiven. The criteria are so limited that only a tiny percentage of the people who have these loans can even apply for forgiveness under this program.
The odds of completing ten years of qualifying payments on the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program are very small. First you must obtain a public service job that is included in the program. Then you must stay on an income based repayment plan for ten years. These plans must be reapplied for annually. If your income goes up, or your number of dependents goes down, you can be kicked off the program. And there goes any chance of loan forgiveness.
Many people have already paid back what they borrowed, yet still owe thousands of dollars. The way the interest is compounded on these loans makes the amount owed grow at an incredible pace.
It is these higher amounts that are usually quoted when the possible amounts to be forgiven are mentioned. Some say “These people borrowed the money, they should pay it back.” Many have already paid back what they borrowed and more, yet are expected to keep paying and paying for years.
The Department of Education said in a letter, a person’s age or whether they are “experiencing financial hardship” are not taken into account when deliberating loan forgiveness. Common sense and conscience should dictate that if the individual is already a senior citizen, with no possibility of getting a better job, or a job at all, this should certainly be considered!
Also, currently if a student is under 24 years old and wants a federal student loan, at least one parent is required to cosign. Then if the young person can’t pay, the lender can go after their parents.
There is no guarantee that a college degree will result in a better job. But these days, unless the student can get a full scholarship, or has wealthy relatives, college will result in thousands of dollars of debt. This can take decades to pay off, if it is even possible. Some senior citizens are dying, still owing on student loans. The system is overdue some real change. People who can’t afford to pay, and whose situation is unlikely to change, need real loan forgiveness. Many simply don’t have the money to ever pay off these mountains of debt. They should not have to go to their graves with student loans still hanging over their heads.