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FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — There are programs available to help individuals here with student loan debt concerns.

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is designed for borrowers who work for a public agency such as the federal government. The borrower must work for 120 months and make 120 payments under an income-driven plan. After the 120 months, the balance remaining on the loans will be forgiven.

One thing to note is the zero percent interest and payments throughout the moratorium on student loan debt — which began in March 2020, and has been extended to Dec. 31 — are still considered to be qualifying payments. That is 29 months of payments toward the program. If you are unsure if your loans are on an income-driven plan, contact your student loan servicer.

The Temporary Extended Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is much like the PSLFP, except your loans do not need to be on an income-driven plan. The temporary extension became available in October 2021, and expires on Oct. 31. Time is running out on this program, so contact your lender now to apply for loan forgiveness.

Finally, the new Student Loan Debt Plan, announced in September, allows federal student loan borrowers to reduce their debt by up to $10,000 if they have federal student loans that were not obtained in conjunction with Pell Grants, and up to $20,000 if the borrower received a combination of Pell Grants and federal loans. This plan also allows for the reduction in payments overall.

Currently, a borrower may request an income-driven plan that sets the maximum repayment at 5 percent of disposable income — defined as any money remaining after taxes, insurance and necessities, such as rent, food and car payments are paid.

More information is available here.

Whether you need assistance with getting on an income-driven plan, making a call to your loan servicer or applying for one of these programs, make a free, confidential appointment with one of our financial counselors.

Appointments are available via telephone, online virtually or in person. Call 573.596.3154 to schedule an appointment.