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August 26, 2016

Student loan forgiveness program can help public employees reduce college debt
New law directs Missouri Department of Higher Education to provide information about program

A new state law will help inform public service employees in Missouri about a federal student loan forgiveness program that could reduce their college debt.

Many public employees – such as teachers, social services workers and public safety officials – are eligible for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Employees who qualify for the program can have the remaining balance of specific student loans forgiven after they make 120 monthly payments while working full time for qualifying public employers.

Legislation that goes into effect Aug. 28 calls for the Missouri Department of Higher Education to provide information and develop guidance for government agencies and non-profit organizations that will be required to provide information about the program to their employees.

“The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can help make college more affordable for many Missourians, especially those who provide essential services to our state,” said Leroy Wade, interim commissioner of higher education. “This new law helps ensure employees learn about the benefits available through this program.”

The program is available for eligible borrowers who obtained student loans through the federal Direct Loan Program. Public employees with Direct Loans should be sure to retain employment information while they are making their student loan payments so it is easier to complete the program requirements and have their loans forgiven, Wade said.

For information about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, visit dhe.mo.gov/resources/publicserviceemployees.php.

The Public Loan Forgiveness Program initiative was included in Senate Bill 997, which contained several measures to make college more affordable and help more students complete a degree.

Increasing college affordability is one of five goals in the state’s new coordinated plan for higher education, adopted earlier this year. For more information about the plan, Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education, visit dhe.mo.gov/blueprint.php.