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Service members and DOD civilians may qualify for student loan forgiveness under a temporary change made to the federal public service loan program.

Service members and DOD civilians may qualify for student loan forgiveness under a temporary change made to the federal public service loan program. ()

Service members and Defense Department civilians with student loans have until Oct. 31 to benefit from a temporary expansion of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program, which makes it easier for more borrowers to have the debt forgiven.

The program erases the remaining balance on federal direct loans after 120 qualifying monthly payments, according to a DOD memo circulated this week. It’s designed for people working full-time in public service, including the military and the federal government.

The U.S. Department of Education temporarily expanded the program’s eligibility criteria in October 2021, but the application period for those extended benefits expires in a few weeks.

Borrowers may get credit for previous repayments on federal student loans, such as Perkins and National Defense Student Loans, as long as they consolidate those loans into a federal direct loan.

Also, payments that were less than the amount due or a few days late count if made on or prior to Oct. 21, 2021, among other changes.

To get the benefit, borrowers must submit a form and consolidate nondirect federal student loans by Oct. 31. Anyone who previously applied for the program and was denied because of the loan type should try again, according to the memo.

For more information on how to qualify and complete the waiver, go to https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/pslf-limited-waiver.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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