U.S. Secretary of Education comes to Manchester to talk student debt relief

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U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona (center) talks with local experts on Nov. 4, 2021. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, N.H. – U.S. Department of Education Secretary Miguel Cardona visited Manchester Community College Thursday to discuss the public service student loan forgiveness program in a roundtable discussion with several local experts on veterans’ affairs, higher education funding and quality of life matters in New Hampshire.

The program, started in 2007, seeks to cancel student loans after 10 years of service working for a local, state or federal government agency or a non-profit agency serving the public. However, due to a lack of communication regarding the program, approximately 98 percent of applicants have been rejected.

Cardona told the experts that over the next year, the U.S. Department of Education is looking to revisit rejected applications for debt relief and also help provide better understanding of the process to others who might be eligible for debt relief.

He added that this process would not be possible without outside support from both other federal agencies such as the U.S. Department of Defense, as well as those with direct access to the needs and concerns of people that might use the program, such as Thursday’s experts.

Many of the experts expressed frustration with the complexity of the program in the past as well as New Hampshire’s student debt load in general. Other suggestions included an expansion of the program to augment a modern-day Works Progress Administration as well as public information campaigns to let more people know about the program’s nuances.

Cardona was appreciative of the recommendations and he also urged the experts to spread the word to those in their circles about the year-long window where rejections would be reviewed, adding that applicants should look at details with their loan servicers regarding rules on their specific loans and the public service student loan program.

Prior to the roundtable, Cardona talked with student nurses at the college. After the roundtable, Cardona briefly met with several New Hampshire elected officials.

About this Author


Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.