College loan debt is a hot topics these days.
The latest government stats show seven out 10 college graduates have loans….and up to 25 percent of borrowers are behind in payments.
Experts said many are not taking advantage of programs that can erase thousands of dollars in debt.
Leah Burke racked up nearly $140,000 in student loan debt by the time she finished graduate school.
“I just always figured it would be juggling, and balancing and trying to make ends meet every month while making these loan payments,” said Burke, who is the associate director of Alumni Relations at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
The payments became an even greater challenge when she left the corporate world for a lower paying job at the non-profit New York City college.
However, the move turned out to be a blessing.
Burke learned about the government’s public service loan forgiveness program.
It wipes away college debt for educators, soldiers, firefighters and many others with public service jobs, after they make 10 years of payments.
“I had to pull over when they told me how much I would be forgiven from my federal student loans,” Burke said, adding that it was in the range of $20,000 to $30,000.
The government estimates the program could help a quarter of the United States workforce.
“We know that tens of millions of borrowers could be eligible for significant forgiveness but only a few hundred thousand have signed up,” said Seth Frotman, student loan ombudsman for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
The program only applies to federal loans.
Burke is still on the hook for her private student loan debt, but after struggling to pay off her education for years, she can finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.
The CFPB advises people with student loans to contact their lender to find out if they might be eligible for loan forgiveness.
For more information on the program, click here.
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