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.