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How can you get student loan forgiveness for up to 24 months in New York?

Rolled out in 2015, New York’s “Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program” offers those eligible 24 months of student loan forgiveness. Here are the details

Alternative to federal student loan forgiveness in New York
Gary HershornGetty

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on the legality of the Biden-Harris student loan forgiveness program in late February. The Department of Education launched an online portal in October where student loan borrowers could submit a form to have up to $20,000 in federal loan debt erased. However, the measure was quickly challenged and forced to be put on hold after some 25 million had already applied.

While the fate of that program most likely won’t be known until the summer, there is another program to receive up to 24 months of loan forgiveness in New York State. The “Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program” was launched in 2015 which “under certain conditions, you may have all or part of your education loans forgiven or cancelled in exchange for performing a qualifying service for a defined period of time.” It is just one of many programs that state residents can take advantage of, the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation provides a full list that student loan borrowers can check out.

Who qualifies for New York’s student loan forgiveness?

The program is available to US citizens as well as eligible non-citizens who are legal residents of New York and have lived in the state for at least 12 consecutive months. You must have earned your high school degree in the state or received a NYS high school equivalency diploma.

Additionally, your undergraduate degree must be from a college or university located in New York, in or after December 2014. You must apply for the program within two years of receiving an undergraduate degree and have no higher academic degree at the time of application.

Note that student loan repayments are on hold until the Supreme Court makes a ruling, then payments will resume 60 days after that. However, if a resolution is not found by 30 June 2023, the payments will resume 60 days after that date no matter what.

Even though payments are on hold the time limit to apply within two years of graduation is still in force. If you are eligible for the “Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program”, you will want to apply as soon as possible to not miss any deadline that may apply to you.

Other criteria to qualify for New York’s student loan forgiveness?

In order to enroll, you must be enrolled in a federal income-driven repayment plan, such as the Pay as You Earn (PAYE) plan, the Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) plan or the Income Based Repayment (IBR) plan. Under one of these, your payments must be capped at 10 percent of your discretionary income and be current on all federal or state student loans as well as any repayments and in compliance with New York State award.

If you are working, your primary work location must be in New York and have an adjusted gross income of less than $50,000 per year.

Note that if you receive student loan forgiveness from New York, you do not have to repay the money but you may be on the hook for taxes for any amount of the debt discharged. The New York State Office of the Comptroller will issue a 1099 form to recipients of the debt relief that will reflect the total loan forgiveness made under the program for the tax year. The state advises that you speak with a tax professional about any questions regarding potential tax implications, or the IRS, or the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.

Which loans qualify for the New York student loan forgiveness?

Keep in mind that when applying for the New York “Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program” not all student loans qualify. Subsidized and unsubsidized loans are eligible under the Direct loan program. If you have Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), these might not necessarily qualify but you may be able to consolidate these loans into the Direct program.

While you may be studying for a graduate degree, as long as you haven’t attained a degree above a bachelor’s you may apply. But if you are taking out new loans for that higher degree they will most likely be excluded from the program. The “Get On Your Feet Loan Forgiveness Program” will not apply to private student loans.

If you hold multiple federal student loans, you most likely have several loan servicers. You can check what kind of student loans you hold at in the event that you are unsure.

For additional questions, check the Frequently Asked Questions page provided by the New York State Higher Education Service Corporation.


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